Title: Days With Mary
Author: Mable Martin
Major Themes: Farm Life, Christian Fiction, Family Life, US History 1950-2000, Books for Girls
Synopsis: Mary spends a happy year working and playing with her large family on their farm in the 1950s.
We seem to have a lot of books on our shelves for the 8-12-year-old group, but not much for the younger ones besides picture books. For that reason, when I placed an order for school books last year, I deliberately chose a few books specifically to read aloud to my 5-year-old daughter. Days With Mary was one of those books. This book doesn’t have a mystery, or any other super-exciting plot. It just tells the story of a little girl enjoying life in a large family. It was a very sweet story to read together, about life in a rural community in the 1950s.
Mary is one of the middle children in her family, which includes 10 children and their parents. She is excitedly looking forward to starting first grade soon, and she wants a new dress to wear to school. She is disappointed when Mother tells her they don’t have money for new fabric, and Mary must be happy with a feed sack dress. She gets to help pick out the feed sacks with the pattern she wants for her new dress, though, and chooses to be happy.
Through the next year, there are many happy times in Mary’s family. As she goes to school and learns to read, she enjoys doing things with her school friends. She also works and plays with her family on the farm. She helps care for the baby and gather eggs, and learns about things such as the mother in the barrel of vinegar. Though there are sad times, like when her brother must go to the hospital with a severe stomach ache, overall her family is very happy.
Days With Mary is a great book to read to young children. Rather than showing children being naughty and getting corrected, it portrays children doing what is right and being happy as a result. It is a very gentle, positive book, with short chapters for young listeners.
Read Aloud—Ages 3 – 4, 5 – 8
Reading Independently—Ages 7 – 9