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review 2017-08-13 05:01
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly by Simms Taback
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly - Simms Taback

Genre:  Surreal / Humor / Chain Reaction / Food / Animals

Year Published: 1997

Year Read:  2009

Publisher:  Viking




“There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly” is a silly lyrical book rewritten from a 1940s American folk poem by Simms Taback and is a Caldecott Honor Book. This book is about how an old lady manages to swallow every animal that comes in her path for no reason, until she goes a bit too far towards the end. This book is full of silly fun, but smaller children might want to watch out for the disturbing ending. 

Simms Taback has done an excellent job at writing this story as it sounds upbeat and is creative, especially when he states about why the old lady swallow one animal after the other. Simms Taback also brings some attitude to the story as he makes it seem like what the old lady is doing is absurd, such as how he stated that it was absurd how the old lady swallowed a bird. Simms Taback also does a superb job at illustrating this book as he makes each character look surreal. The image that stood out the most was the image of the old lady herself as she is the most surrealistic looking character in the entire book. The old lady has bloodshot eyes throughout the book indicating she is crazy and her dress is black and has colorful dots painted all over her dress. I also love the way that Simms Taback made die cuts in this book when she shows the animals that the old lady has swallowed in her belly and the die cut gets larger the larger the animal she swallows gets. 


Parents should know that the ending might be too disturbing for smaller children. I will not spoil the ending for you, but it does deal with the subject of death and children might worry about the concept of death. Parents might want to explain to their children about how death is apart of life and be careful into how they are explaining this theme since smaller children might not understand the full concept of death. Also, parents might want to talk to their children about he difference between reality and fantasy, especially since this book was not meant to be taken seriously and the things that the old lady has done does not really happen like that in real life.

There was an Old Lady who swallowed a fly” is certainly one silly book that children will love for many years. I would recommend this book for children ages five and up since the format is simple for children to read, but the ending will definitely disturb smaller children since they do not understand about death in real life.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog


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review 2017-04-07 02:40
There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly - Simms Taback

This is a good book to show for sequence of events and chronological order. I would use this in my classroom by having them all pick an animal from the book and getting in a group. We will then play the song and as their animal was said they would have to stand up and act like that animal. I could also use this as a time to relate to other concepts such as long vowel sounds. I would get a tissue box and dress it up as an old lady and they could say that the old lady swallowed long vowel sounds and have to place words in the box. I think this book could be read at any grade level. The Lexile Level is AD250L.

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review 2017-04-06 04:09
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly - Simms Taback

This is a fun children's book that can be a little disturbing, simply due to the fact that the lady dies at the end. The book is about an old lady who initially swallows a fly, then swallows a series of animals to get rid of the animal she had eaten prior until she eats a horse and dies because a horse it to big. This book could help with sequencing a story while providing the opportunity for the children to be interactive by making this into a song or other activity.


Lexile Measure: AD250L

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text 2017-03-25 16:33
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly - Simms Taback

Lexile Level: AD250L


This is a book about a crazy old lady that continuously swallows different animals. This book is very creative. I would use this book in my class room to get the students to put the animals in the correct order. I would use this in first grade.  

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text 2017-03-07 23:00
There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Shell
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Shell! Book and Audiocassette Tape Set (Paperback Book and Audio Cassette Tape) - Lucille Colandro,Jared Lee,Skip Hinnant

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.

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