Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Ordinary Mary's Extraordinary Deed” as Want to Read:
Ordinary Mary's Extraordinary Deed
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Ordinary Mary's Extraordinary Deed

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  602 ratings  ·  129 reviews
Celebrate the fifteenth anniversary edition of this feel-good story that continues to inspire and celebrate a world full of ordinary deeds!

Can one child's good deed change the world? It can when she’s Ordinary Mary—an ordinary girl from an ordinary school, on her way to her ordinary house—who stumbles upon ordinary blueberries. When she decides to pick them for her neighbo
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published April 29th 2002 by Gibbs Smith
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.22  · 
Rating details
 ·  602 ratings  ·  129 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Ordinary Mary's Extraordinary Deed
Chance Lee
Jan 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-it
Nice artwork accompanies a long, rambling story about how a good deed can spread. The story is a little heavy handed, but nice in spirit.
Feb 02, 2020 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: (Possibly?) Readers Looking for Children's Stories About Kindness
Shelves: picture-books
When an ordinary little girl named Mary picks some blueberries for her elderly neighbor, she has no idea that she is setting in motion a chain reaction of good deeds and good feelings that will eventually include the entire world. As each person is helped, the happiness they feel leads them to help five others, with kindness radiating outward from its original source - the eponymous Ordinary Mary - and then finding its way back to her again...

Although I do think that its heart is in the right pl
Jun 20, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: some
The premise is slightly cliche; Ordinary Mary does a good deed, and the reader watches the ripple effect of good deeds as each person who benefits from one person's good deed in turn does five good deeds. Quickly, the benefits of kindness reach everyone in the world (this is shown by a two page display of mathematical figures that reach 6,103,515,625 within 14 days of each person accomplishing five deeds.) The premise could be successful, but this book doesn't manage it.

Here's my list of compla
Reading_ Tam_ Ishly
Jul 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book need to be read everyday, yes, for the adult reading it and yes, for the children who are growing up.

This is the positivity we all need now.

One person helping another without expecting anything in return and such an act being forwarded by the kind people who has recieved such an act.

I love the concept. There's nothing in this classic picture book that I didn't like or feel could have been done better.

I want to keep a physical copy of this.

I needed this.
Jan 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
I thought this book just lovely, with a beautiful message of spreading kindness in a sort of "pass it on" type of gesture. Ordinary Mary's simple act of kindness sets off a chain reaction wherein five people do a similar kindness, and then each of those people do something nice for five others, and so on and so forth, until good deeds have been done for every person on the planet.

I read it to first graders, who were mesmerized. It helped that we could make a text-to-self connection with a simil
Jan 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Added this one to my Christmas book collection this year although it is not a Christmas book (it just gave me a good excuse to buy it, and I ended up giving several as gifts). Delightful little tale and explanation of the "pay it forward" idea. A great tool for an object lesson on service or the great impact little acts of service can have. A good message for kids and adults alike.
Jun 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaways
I am grateful to have won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway and intend to donate my copy to the library where I work so that it may be shared with many children and families!

Wow! This book shares an amazing message: one small act of kindness multiplies quickly into BILLIONS without even realizing! Very young children all the way to the very old adults can be inspired by this book to do good for others!

This story is fun and the poetic flow of the text makes it a quick and intriguing read. It's an
Danielle H
I just felt like this story went on tremendously too long and was unrealistic for it's length and the deeds, but did like the intention. It also bothered me a little bit that the message seemed to kind of be it was good that Mary did something kind because she got something out of it, indirectly, in the end, when the point should really just be that she wanted to do the kind thing. I think it would still function as a good discussion starter for my students and lead to some good writing pieces t ...more
Loreanna McKinney
Feb 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Even though this book is a children's picture book, it has a message for everyone: be kind. Emily Person's book, Ordinary Mary's Extraordinary Deed, tells of how one act of kindness can change the entire world. It encourages the reader to take something so ordinary, like blueberries, and see how they can become something so extraordinary. The illustrations were the perfect companion to the story. Vivid colors and cartoon-like figures made the lovely book even more enjoyable.

In the classroom, th
Steve Holden
Jun 02, 2017 rated it liked it
This is another book found in my search for positive behavior promoting picture books. The concept of this one is awesome - be kind and do good deeds to others because no matter how ordinary you may be/seem, it can have a great affect on others and cause a positive chain reaction. It's a story intended for young audiences, so it can be overly optimistic. The idea of being kind to others is simple to teach, promote, and be positive about. The idea of one good deed going on to have an impact on so ...more
Apr 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My mom used to, and still says that kindness never goes wasted. It blesses the receiver and the giver.... she is a firm believer of karma and would say you do your thing be kind and don’t expect anything in return and you will see how the universe will come back blessing you ... and today when I was reading this book to my son (yes, he is 10 but I still do read to him) her words of wisdom was what absolutely resonated with this story💓💓 An extraordinary book with a powerful message, vivid illustr ...more
Kathleen Dixon
Jul 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
I saw this briefly and thought it'd be nice to read at school with my grandchildren. The oldest is now trying school out (that's a school-school, as opposed to homeschool) so he didn't get to see this book, but the two girls loved it. They are aged 11 and 9, and I often read a picture book to them for discussion and art purposes.

There are a couple of things this book could do better - racial mix being one of them, and leaving off the occasional rhyming being another. However, neither of these im
Mar 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read the book Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed by one of my favorite authors Emily Pearson. This book is about a girl named Mary who decided one day that she was going to take her neighbor, Mrs. Bishop some berries. Her neighbor then decided to use those berries and make some blueberry muffins and give them to five people. Those five people went and did nice things for five more people and on it went. It continued and acts of kindness were spread to many people all over the world. Then it ca ...more
Kylie Matusiewicz
Aug 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
After all the news about Texas and Louisiana with the flood, this is the perfect book to pull out. This book practices a skill which is finding a current event and reading a book that focuses on the subject for younger students to understand this more. The book follows how kindness can really go a long way and remember how to treat everyone. Doing one good deed could set off a chain reaction of things. I believe that this book could be read to any age it is always important to learn these messag ...more
Nov 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful story about the ripple effect that kindness can have. It starts with a little girl does a kind deed which in turn inspires another act of kindness and so forth and so forth. Read this book with a class of kindergarten students for World Kindness Day and then we made Kindness muffins to share with other students and teachers in the school. The children loved this story and were inspired to go out and do good in the world. It is a great addition to any children's library. I kno ...more
Jul 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read this book quickly at work as I was fixing a cataloging error on it. This will be a book I revisit when my son gets older. The message about random acts of kindness was written so simply, so naturally and will be perfect to not only explain why doing nice things is important, but also what can happen when you do them. I loved it and I love finding kids' books to hoard away until my son gets older and will be able to understand them. Also, the illustrations were adorable! I loved the art st ...more
Kristen Miller
Sep 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Ordinary Mary's Extraordinary Deed by Emily Pearson was a wonderful book. It shows how one ordinary kind deed can have a ripple effect and inspire others to do the same. I also believe that it would be an amazing tool to use to show students how wildly capable they are of whatever it is that they are interested in. It also encourages students to carry out kind actions that may in turn bring light and joy into someone else's life. This is a book that I highly recommend and will most definitely ha ...more
Donna Thomas
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read this beautiful children's story to my spiritual formation ladies that meet at my home once a month for brunch. It's a sweet reminder that the random acts of kindness that we extend to each other bring joy to not only the recipient, but to others beyond our little corners of the world. For an unexpected blessing is the impetus to pass along another thoughtful treasure to brighten one more person's day. And the giving keeps on giving.
Cheriee Weichel
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
One day Ordinary Mary finds some blueberries in an empty lot. She picks them and gives them away to Mrs Bishop who baked them into blueberry muffins that she gave away to five different people. One of these characters is so glad that he does something good for 5 other people. The story continues in this vein until it comes round to Mary. The message of paying it forward is obvious, but it's worth reading anyway.
May 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: preschool-books
I was looking for stories that would encourage kindness, and while this does have a good message about how one person's kindness can inspire kindness in others in an ever-widening ripple, the story and language are basically ... boring. There are inconsistent rhymes with terrible rhythm, which makes it even worse. The idea is a good one, and the book gets the idea across bluntly, but surely other books do it better.
Laurie Clary
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Mary is just an ordinary little girl who pays it forward when she gives her neighbor some blueberries. This random act of kindness triggers a positive reaction that is finds its way around the world. This books promotes non-bullying behaviors and how just a simple act of kindness can make such a big impact in so many wonderful ways. I use this book in my friendship unit, it's powerful message also provides opportunities to teach point of view and dialogue study.
Jun 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm not sure I could love this book more than I already do. It's the children's version of the "paying it forward" concept with a math component as well. I will say that this is a text-heavy picture book, so it will be more difficult for littles to sit still until the end and comprehend the message. Perfect for lower elementary audiences.
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
This is a delightful book that shows how the power of simple kindness can spread and multiply. My children really enjoyed when the book numerically detailed how Mary's kindness multiplied, and they could see what an enormous impact it had. A perfect book for young grade school aged children.

Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Pam Vickers
Mar 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great story about being kind!

Cute book! Love the idea and will definitely use it in my pre-k classroom! The illustrations were beautiful and I recommend reading this to your child.
Sep 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: character, age-8, age-4, age-6
Simple little book about how one girl doing something nice can affect a lot of people and even come back to her.

Building up others builds up the entire community/world.

*Could be fun to have blueberries while you read this or make blueberry muffins to give away for a service project afterwards.
Feb 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book has a lovely message, and my math girl loved the numbers toward the end of the story. The text seemed a little clunky (some lines rhyme and others...don't), but my girls didn't seem to notice.
James Bailey
May 29, 2018 rated it liked it
I love the message of the good deed can have a ripple effect that literally goes to billions of other people (30,517,578,125 to be exact). However, some of the message gets lost in the details here.
A sweet pay-it-forward type story that would be perfect for Craft Cart Story Time but too much and too long for my preschoolers. (It might even need to be shortened for the elementary school crowd, but that could easily happen).
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I don't know how I never heard about this book before but Wow! So beautiful and inspiring! I cry every time and want to be a better person. My children love this book as well and even lead out with bnb ideas to to nice things for others just like Mary did in the book.
Nov 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literacy-class
A sweet story that illustrates how powerful a small act of kindness can be. The acts of kindness described in the story are things even a small child can do - kids will be able to see themselves in this book and will be empowered to change the world through kindness.
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Those Shoes
  • Be Kind
  • The Invisible Boy
  • I Am Human: A Book of Empathy
  • I Walk with Vanessa: A Story about a Simple Act of Kindness
  • The Cool Bean (The Bad Seed, #3)
  • Finding Kindness
  • Spork
  • The Wonderful Fluffy Little Squishy
  • Enemy Pie
  • Emmanuel's Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah
  • Pete's Big Lunch (Pete the Cat: I Can Read)
  • Come with Me
  • The Scarecrow
  • The Napping House
  • Home in the Woods
  • The Proudest Blue
  • A Friend for Henry
See similar books…

Related Articles

Children's books featuring bold and brave girls are both becoming easier for parents to find, and also cover a large range of...
130 likes · 47 comments