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There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly by…

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly (original 1997; edition 1997)

by Simms Taback (Author)

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1,9121593,582 (4.06)10
Title:There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly
Authors:Simms Taback (Author)
Info:Viking Books for Young Readers (1997), Edition: 1st, 36 pages
Collections:Traditional Literature, K-2nd Grade Readers
Tags:folktale, unrealistic, funny

Work details

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly by Simms Taback (1997)


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I liked this book for three reasons. First, I really enjoyed the illustrations that went along with the book. Throughout the story this old lady swallows different bugs and animals. Along with the story you saw illustrations of these bugs and animals as they talked about them. When the old lady had swallowed a fly, a spider, and a bird, there was a cut out on her stomach and “inside her stomach” you can see all three of those things that were in her stomach. As the story goes on, and she swallows more animals her stomach gets larger, and they continue to show you all the bugs and animals “inside her stomach” that she has eaten. This made the story much more fun to read because you were able to see all of the previous things that she had swallowed. Another reason that I liked this book was the rhyming that occurred throughout the story. After the story says what the old lady swallowed, they end it with “Perhaps she’ll die”. On each of these pages there are other animals and bugs and next to them there are little sayings that end in something that rhymes with “die”. For example, after the old lady swallowed the fly a few of the rhyming things were, “I think I’ll cry”, “She gulped it out of the sky”, and “OH my!”. These are really funny to read as the story goes on and some of them talk about how they feel about her swallowing these things. My final reason why I liked this book was because of the way the book flows. There is a lot of repetition in the story, as more animals/bugs get added to the list of things that the old lady swallowed. In the story after the old lady swallows a dog the writer says “She swallowed the dog to catch the cat. She swallowed the cat to catch the bird. She swallowed the bird to catch the spider. She swallowed the spider to catch the fly. I don’t know why she swallowed the fly. Perhaps she’ll die.” In the beginning of the story this was very short because she had only swallowed one or two things. As the story goes on this gets longer.
At the end of the story it says that the moral is to “never swallow a horse”. This is because the old lady dies when she swallows the horse, but obviously no one can do this. This story goes along with the old folk song, but this adds illustrations to the story. I believe that the big idea of this story is just for children to enjoy the book, and get a little humor out of it. The illustrations make it easy and fun to picture the story, unlike the original old folk song. ( )
  samgreen013 | Feb 14, 2018 |
The character in this story continued to swallow things to catch what she had swallowed prior, until it killed her! ( )
  Rebecalynn | Jan 29, 2018 |
This award winning book is a great rhyming and or sing-along book for early readers. The book goes through an old lady swallowing different animals through out the story. It is comical and full of rhyming words to make the book even more enthusiastic to read. ( )
  Jannette_M | Sep 17, 2017 |
This morbid children's folktale about an old lady that swallowed a fly, then she swallowed all these different things to swallow the fly. It is cute book for young readers and you can do an activity putting the things she swallowed on the board or something fun like that. It is also a great tool for ELL students because it can help them pit pictures to the words. I enjoyed this book is was a cute story to read. ( )
  KaylaReiner13 | Sep 15, 2017 |
This book follows a pattern of an old lady swallowing various critters and animals. She starts out by swallowing a fly and ends with swallowing a horse. As the story progresses, the old lady’s stomach grows and the pictures show all that she continues to swallow.

Personal Reflection:
I think this is a fun book for kids to read or listen to. I also like how it follows a pattern that the kids eventually catch on to. It’s a mystery for them as to what she will swallow next.

Extension Ideas:
1. Have a demonstration prepared for the students on what a cycle of animals and their prey are. This demonstration can look different for each student after they have created their own.
2. The kids are given paper and animal science books that say what animals eat. They are told to find an animal and from that animal find out what it eats. The kids should have at least five different animals and what their prey are.
  Elisec | Jul 13, 2017 |
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Book description
Modeled on the folk song: There was an old lady who swallowed a fly.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0670869392, Hardcover)

An old favorite as you've never seen it before!

Everyone knows the song about the old lady who swallowed a fly, a spider, a bird, and even worse, but who's ever seen what's going on inside the old lady's stomach? With this inventive die-cut artwork, Simms Tabak gives us a rollicking, eye-popping version of the well-loved poem.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:05 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Presents the traditional version of a famous American folk poem first heard in the U.S. in the 1940's with illustrations on die-cut pages that reveal all that the old lady swallows.

(summary from another edition)

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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