Hi folks! We're back with another Podcast Bunny Presents!
To those new the series, I do a lot of interviews for the Children's Book Podcast and ever since joining the team Podcast Bunny has been really excited to host some interviews of his own. It turns out he's been making friends with all sorts of wonderful main characters in his favorite picture books. Podcast Bunny conducts the interviews himself and I post them here each Monday for everyone to enjoy. You can read all of Podcast Bunny's interviews HERE.
We hope you enjoy!
Podcast Bunny Presents #5: An Interview with Mary of MARY HAD A LITTLE LAB by Sue Fliess and Petros Bouloubasis
PODCAST BUNNY: Hi Mary! Thanks for inviting me over!
MARY: Thank you for coming all the way out to the country!
PODCAST BUNNY: Wow! Is this your lab? It's even bigger than I pictured!
MARY: Yes! This is my little, but not so little, lab. I converted my playhouse into a lab a few years ago, because I love to experiment. I hope it’s not too messy for you, I’m in the middle of my next invention.
PODCAST BUNNY: You're a pretty inventive kid. Have you always had an interest in tinkering and inventing?
MARY: I think so. When I was younger, I used to collect bugs. One day I found a bug missing a back leg, so I decided to make him a new leg. I think that’s when it all started.
PODCAST BUNNY: You've got some pretty impressive tools and equipment. How long have you been working in this lab?
MARY: Since as long as I can remember. As I told you, this lab used to be a playhouse. But since I didn’t really ever want to play house, I converted the kitchen into a laboratory. I’ve since added to it so I can fit all of my contraptions.
PODCAST BUNNY: Do you have any inventor heroes or people you look up to?
MARY: Oh, yes! Too many to list, but definitely:
Marie Curie. She was a physicist and a chemist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1903 for her great work in radiation, which helped give us X-rays. And! She actually won it twice—the second time she won it for chemistry!
And Margaret Knight. She invented so many things! But her neatest claim to fame to me was her invention in 1879 of a machine that cut, folded and glued flat-bottomed paper shopping bags! They called it a Paper-Bag Machine. Not such a fancy name. I would have called it The Bag-o-matic, but that’s just me. We would have gotten along great because I sometimes use my sheep to carry the groceries in.
PODCAST BUNNY: I read a story about the time you invented a machine that made sheep. It was called the SHEEPINATOR. (Amazing name, btw!) Can you describe what it felt like to make such an innovative creation and see it work?
MARY: Well, it usually takes me a few tries to get something to work, you know what I mean? I got the idea to make a pet from seeing a boy and his dog. But I don’t have my own money, really, and my parents are allergic to dogs and cats, so I knew even if I had money I couldn’t get one of those. Since we live out in the country–you probably noticed the farms when you drove in, I thought a sheep would make a nice soft, fluffy pet! Bunnies are cute too, of course, but I decided to go with a sheep. It took me a few months to build the Sheepinator, and the first time it just gave me back the wool I put in. I knew then that I needed heat, so I needed to make friction. So I added the bicycle pedals. I was able to heat the chemical mixture with the wool to create a chemical reaction, and out popped my sheep!
PODCAST BUNNY: Unfortunately, things took a turn for the worse in your story. You were so nice to make a sheep for all of your classmates, but when things started going wrong did you ever worry that you might not be able to fix it?
MARY: I always try to stay positive, but that was a really big problem! I was worried, but had to show my friends that no problem can’t be fixed with teamwork. Thankfully, my new friends agreed to help me. Did you see what we had to do!? We had to flip the Sheepinator totally upside down to get it to stop making sheep! I couldn’t have done it without my friends and our new pets.
PODCAST BUNNY: I saw that the evening news showed up outside your lab to report on the sheep catastrophe. But you know what I think? I think they should come talk to you again because your inventions are amazing and you found a solution to your problem!
MARY: Thank you! I think if I wasn’t trying so hard to fix the Sheepinator, maybe I would have thought to go outside and talk to the nice newslady. But you just let me talk about it, so that was nice of you!.
PODCAST BUNNY: Have you made a new inventions since the SHEEPINATOR/KNIT-O-MATIC?
MARY: I am always working on something. But I never reveal my inventions before they’re ready!
PODCAST BUNNY: I know that failure is part of the scientific process and it can help us learn. How often do you think things go wrong until you figure out how to make them go right?
MARY: That’s a really good question. Sometimes things go wrong lots of times before they work, and sometimes only a few times. But I rarely get it right the first time! I would say, let yourself try as many times as it takes to get it right, and don’t give up.
PODCAST BUNNY: Okay, just a few more quick questions before I go. How old are you?
MARY: I’m 7, but my mom says I’m 7 going on 17, whatever that means.
PODCAST BUNNY: Do you go to school?
MARY: I do go to school. I like school. But now I look forward to it more because I have new friends! Also, my teacher is really nice and lets me bring my sheep.
PODCAST BUNNY: What's your favorite food?
MARY: Popcorn, because I like to watch it pop.
PODCAST BUNNY: Can I come over again sometime soon?
MARY: I would love that. I’ll give you a sneak peek on what I’m working on and maybe you can help me think of new inventions!
PODCAST BUNNY: I would love that! What else should we do next time I visit?
MARY: We should make ice-cream.
PODCAST BUNNY: Totally! Thanks for letting me come over, Mary! Tell teacher and your class I said thanks, too. See you next time!
MARY: See you next time!
Thanks for visiting with us, Mary! And thank you Sue Fliess, just because.
MARY HAD A LITTLE LAB is available right now from Albert Whitman & Company.
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