Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Adventures of Mary Contrairy by Ethel Talbot

The Adventures of Mary Contrairy,  was published around 1900 and is forty-eight  pages in length. There is no date of publication anywhere within the pages, but it was published by by "Little Dots" in London.  This little hardback-gem used to belong to my mother, Margaret Stevens, but was handed on to me when I was a little girl. Most people have heard the nursery rhyme:

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells, and cockle shells,
And pretty maids all in a row.

Well, the story is all about Miss Mary Contrairy(although her name is spelt differently), who neglects her garden and her cottage, and so her house runs away. Devastated by this turn of events, Miss Mary finds herself being comforted by the cockle-shells and the pretty maids all in a row. Following the suggestion of the silver bells, Mary decides to dig an underground path in order to find her cottage. She then meets Polly Flinders, Boy Blue, an old witch, and Miss Muffet, and thus begins Mary's journey about learning about responsibilities. 

Simple, but exquisite ink drawing adorn all pages of the text.
Mary meets Polly Flinders
Author/illustrator, Ethel Talbot (1880-1944) was a prolific writer who was well-known for her stories for girls. Very little is known about her early life.


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