Mary Had A Little Lab

Written by: Sue Fliess

Illustrated by: Petros Bouloubasis

For Ages: 3-5 years

Language: English

Topics Covered: STEM, Self-Esteem, Initiative.

Summary: This book is cleverly written in a rhyming scheme about a little girl scientist named Mary.  She looks through her lab window and notices that other children have friends and pets, and Mary gets to thinking.  She hatches a plan to engineer a machine that will make her friends, and it works!  Mary has a friendly pet sheep, and all the other children in her classroom want them as well.  When making duplicate sheep, the machine breaks.  Suddenly, there are sheep everywhere!  Mary’s classmates (and new friends!) help her fix the machine.  Mary adds wheels to her lab to herd her new flock of sheep, and starts a new business venture with both her human and ovine pals!

Reflection Questions:

  • What is an invention you would like to make?
  • Who are some friends you think would be good at helping engineer your invention?
  • Who are some famous women scientists that you have learned about?
  • What important contributions to science do you think they’ve made?

Continuing the Conversation:

  • Design an invention like Mary.  What are some supplies you need?  Can you draw some plans for the invention, or make a model with recycled materials?
  • Have a Science/Invention Fair as a class and share all of your ideas.  What are some ways you could help make these inventions real?
  • As a group, come up with an invention that your community needs.  Who would you talk with to make plans for your invention to be used by people in your community?
  • Visit an inventor or engineer in their lab, or come visit the classroom.  Compile a list of questions to ask the scientist about their lab.  Do you think it looks like Mary’s lab in the book?
  • Sign up for a Skype A Scientist session, and get connected with scientists all over the world without having to leave your classroom!

About the Author & the Illustrator:

sue fleissSue Fliess (pronounced “fleece”) is the author of numerous children’s books including Tons of Trucks, Shoes for Me!, Robots, Robots Everywhere! and The Hug Book. Her background is in copywriting, PR, and marketing, and her articles have appeared in O the Oprah Magazine, Huffington Post, Writer’s Digest,, Daily Candy Kids,, and more. She’s super excited because her Oprah Magazine article was chosen for inclusion in O’s Little Books of Happiness! She has also written stories for The Walt Disney Company. Her picture books have received honors from the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators, have been used as curriculum tools in schools, in museum educational programs, and have even been translated into French and Chinese. After spending 17 years in sunny Northern California, her family moved to beautiful Northern Virginia, where they live with our English Labrador named Charlie and way too many mosquitoes.

Petros BouloubasisOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA was born in Athens, Greece, where he attended the Graphic Institute of Design. He has participated in exhibitions in Greece, Spain, Japan and Iran. He teaches graphic design & illustration at private colleges.

One Comment on “Mary Had A Little Lab

  1. Pingback: Poetry? Oh Noetry! (I’ll show myself out) – The Tiny Activist

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