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There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is a rendition of the old song most kids have heard, and enjoy singing. The woman dies in the end, and in this book a tab pulls the eyes closed to show it. That interactive playfulness might add to the silliness for some kids, but unsettle others. The book itself is a little stiff and hard to manage.
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What's the story?
Is it any good?
The presentation is what this book is about, and it's one that is clever and original though not really all that kid-friendly. The familiar song is told in print that is a little hard to read, the illustrations are intricate but a little abstract, and the physical book is stiff and too complicated for young kids. However, older readers and adults might appreciate its artistry and enjoy sharing the silliness with their younger readers. Not really a Halloween story, but it certainly could add to the holiday fun!
The format and the illustrations of this book are clever, though perhaps not that kind of clever that will capture the interest of young kids. Actually, with all its scrapbook kind of detail and unusual format, this book looks more like an art project than a book. A long and slender board book of sorts, it is done in rather drab browns and grays, and sports a somewhat scary-looking face. The book itself is stiffly set in the area of the old woman's stomach and, as you turn each page, you see a rather fanciful illustration of what she has just swallowed. In the end, as you turn the final page and she dies, a tab pulls her eyes closed.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families may enjoy singing the silly song together, and even adding their own verses.
Readers will certainly want to talk about the illustrations and all the absurd details included in each one. Have you ever seen a fly with a telescope, or a spider like the one the old lady swallowed? Why do you think the bird is dressed like a deputy sheriff, or why does the cow have wings?
Do you think this song is funny, silly, or scary? Why? What about the cover, or the artwork? How do the colors make you feel? What about the old lady's face?
For kids who love Halloween and the offbeat
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.