Scary Mary Author: Paula Bowles
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Format: Picture Books

Age Range: 3-7 years

Publication Date: March 2012

BISAC: JUV002090

Pages: 24

Book Format Detail: Hardcover

Retail Price: $12.95

ISBN-13: 9781589251106

ISBN-10: 1589251105

Dimensions: 9-1/4" x 10-1/4"

Meet Scary Mary. In the barnyard, she rules the roost. If the other animals come near, she chases them away! She keeps all the sunflower seeds to herself and builds a fort to keep the others out. But Scary Mary soon realizes that being scary is lonely. In this impressive picture-book debut, author-illustrator Paula Bowles uses humor and style to deliver a gentle lesson in bullying.

Lexile: AD600


In this zany book written and illustrated by Paula Bowles, young readers find a bully of a bird learning a valuable lesson. While we don’t know why Scary Mary acts as she does, we are treated to seeing how happy and playful the barnyard becomes once all the animals are friends. Scary Mary could be used as a springboard for short parent/child discussions about the possibilities of why Scary Mary acts the way she does, which could provide children with insight into bullies they might meet in real life. I also like the way Bowles has Scary Mary being the one to go to the other animals after she has scared them off and asking them to play. The reader sees Scary Mary knows she’s wrong and takes the first step toward making things right.

I love Bowles’s artwork for this book. It is similiar in style to that of Betsy Lewin in many of Doreen Cronin’s books. It’s outlandish. It’s big. Just like Scary Mary is at the beginning. This is a fun book with a fabulous message. I highly recommend it.


Scary Mary ruled the roost. Other animals wanted to play with her, but she would scare them away. She put up signs and gates to keep them out. Scary Mary kept all the sunflower seeds to herself. The animals wanted to join her. Scary Mary shouted “No!”

When Scary Mary was all alone and had the barnyard to herself, she realized that being alone was very lonely. How will Scary Mary ever get the other animals to want to play with her again? You'll have to read this wonderful book to find out.

This is a debut book from Paula Bowles. This hilarious story will teach young readers about sharing and friendship. Vivid pictures of Scary Mary's frantic outbursts, will have kids giggling. Bullying is a big topic in schools, and this is a perfect way to teach a lesson about bullying. Parents and teachers can utilize this tool to open up dialogue and help children better understand how to deal with a bully.