There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Shell, is a spin off from There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly. Personally, I like this version because it involves the beach. The author, Lucille Colandro, does a great job to sequence the next culprit the lady swallows. Any of these versions, could be used to help students with sequencing. Have the students fill out a sequencing activity sheet or divide the class into groups and assign each member a different object then have the students put their selves in order. This book is leveled at a AD390L on the Lexile Leveling system.
It seems amazing that I’ve never heard of this string of attacks and murders in Austin, although I seem to recall hearing of the legend of the mysterious woman in white (apparently the ghost of the murdered Eula) when I was a student at UT. Or maybe from my visits to my grandparents in Austin as a kid?
The author does an excellent job of presenting the events and his research findings objectively. The narrative is not at all dry – it’s engaging while paying the reader the compliment of avoiding sensationalism and emotional manipulation. I was as fascinated by the story of historical Austin, its people and growth and politics and race relations, as I was by the mystery of the attacks. The insight into the process (and limits) of 19th century forensics, law enforcement, and justice, was compelling as well.
Audiobook, borrowed from my public library via Overdrive. Clint Jordan provides an excellent performance with an authentic regional voice, although his mispronunciation of a few place names was a little distracting. For example, Seguin is “suh-GEEN”, not “SEG-win”. The author reads the afterword in his own voice, which is even more authentically, delightfully, regional.
I gave the hardcover copy to my Dad for his birthday. The bound copy is full of goodies, like maps and photos, and contains a reference index. My dad, a native Austinite, is also a history buff who particularly loves the late 1800s, and was so delighted with this book that he also sent a copy to his brother.
'There was an old lady who' is a great beginning for readers of all ages! The classroom age range is likely 5-8 which means any class kindergarten through third grade would enjoy this book.
I would be most likely to use this book at the beginning of the year when we talk about our summer vacations. There is sure to be mention of the beach and this would fit right in. I would use it to teach cause and effect, and as a writing prompt for older students. What is the outcome of swallowing all those things?? A sandcastle? Well imagine if a farmer swallowed..... Students could certainly be creative in making their own stories to mimic this one and enjoy it! This could even be an assessment of writing abilities and styles to kick off the school year.
grade level equivalent: 2.2