Cover image for Mary had a little ham
Mary had a little ham
Palatini, Margie.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Hyperion Books for Children, [2003]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 23 x 28 cm
After Stanley Snoutowski, actor pig, leaves his friend Mary and heads for Broadway, he finally gets a break when he meets Hoggers and Hammerswine.
Reading Level:
AD 660 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.2 0.5 102067.

Reading Counts RC K-2 3.5 2 Quiz: 36022 Guided reading level: L.
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



Stanley Snoutowski has always been a precocious piggie-and Mary has always encouraged her little ham. In the barn and even at school (where Stanley followed her, even if it was against the rules), Stanley shows star quality. Mary knows she can't keep him down on the farm, so off he goes to the bright lights of Broadway. The days of cattle calls and nights of waiting tables are rough on the runt, but he perseveres. He knows that with hard work, determination-and a bit of luck-someday he'll play the ultimate role: Hamlet. This is a laugh-out-loud story of a determined pig and the little girl who believes in him.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 1-3. What if Mother Goose goofed, and Mary had a ham rather than a lamb? Enter Stanley Snoutowski, a pig who craves the limelight. Stanley struts his stuff for Mary, but they both know he's destined for something bigger: Broadway! Once there, his pride is dealt a few solid blows, but Mary's unswerving faith in him and Stanley's own gumption help him rise to stardom. Palatini milks the pig premise for all its worth (spigtacular! snoutstanding! ), and her verbal showboating (he pondered his portly profile ) does get a little tiresome at times. However, Francis' artwork is a hoot: he spoofs familiar Broadway posters and depicts primping thespians in a cattle call scene that winks at the triumph of vanity over indignity. Fans of Palatini's energetic storytelling will welcome this felicitous new pairing, which will work well with Robert Kinerk's Clorinda BKL N 1 03 for an eccentric storytime about livestock aspiring to stardom. --Jennifer Mattson Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Playbill-hoarding grown-ups may laugh loudest at this story of a piglet meant for bigger things than life on the farm. Young Mary's pig, Stanley Snoutowski, is plump with stage talent: "He could make 'em laugh. He could make 'em cry. And, wow! Could those little pig's feet hoof it!" Once in New York to pursue his career, Stanley faces struggles and setbacks and menial employment. But whenever he feels low (or wonders whether he should get his snout fixed), Mary's letters offer him unconditional encouragement. And when Stanley finally triumphs in Hamlet, she's in the balcony cheering him on. For the most part, Palatini's prose bounces along exuberantly, as in her Bad Boys (reviewed above). But here she underscores her messages about the power of spunk and friendship more than she needs to, and her writing can slide into overworked. Francis (the Adam Sharp series) renders Mary with oddly oversize eyes and large head, but his cute, anthropomorphic Stanley has plenty of, er, animal magnetism. Adults will savor the nods to classic journey-to-stardom moments. There's a literal cattle call that brings out other, desperately-seeking-fame species in cow costumes (one chicken has jerry-rigged a cow's head atop a plunger, which she wears on her own head); and posters for the porcine versions of classic productions that mark Stanley's rise to the top, including "Pork Chop on a Hot Tin Plate," complete with a voluptuous sow in a Liz Taylor 'do and slip. Ages 5-9. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3-In this paean to pork puns, Palatini presents the story of Stanley Snoutowski, a young pig who longs to see his name in lights. Encouraged by his friend Mary, he moves to New York City and experiences the typical struggles many young actors go through: cattle-call auditions (with actual cattle, of course) and jobs waiting tables and driving a cab, until his big break-a chance meeting with the legendary Broadway producers Hoggers and Hammerswine. From then on, Stanley is a star, in productions of South Pigcific, The Pig and I, Pigmalion, Pork Chop on a Hot Tin Plate, and, finally, Hamlet. The color cartoon illustrations mesh well with the text, especially the promotional material for Stanley's plays. But the story as a whole is problematic. Readers expecting a connection to the classic nursery rhyme will be disappointed, as that link is quickly dropped. While the Broadway story is clever, many of the puns are unlikely to be appreciated or understood by the audience, and those who do understand them are more likely to groan than laugh. For aficionados of pigs and puns only.-Ellen A. Greever, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.