A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Violence & Scariness
Of course the rhyme ends with "perhaps she'll die."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that there's little story in this traditional poem, but it's wildly silly, and readers have an open invitation to rhyme along. The artwork, for all its goofiness, is mesmerizing.
Is It Any Good?
Simms Taback adds visual fuel to a folk poem already brimming with hilarity. While the poem stands on its own as a celebration of rhyme and tomfoolery, Taback captures the action in boldly colored cartoon illustrations that cover each page. Short rhymed comments from the animals about to be eaten are added as asides. The cut-out pages focus the reader's attention and carry the poem from page to page.
THERE WAS AN OLD LADY WHO SWALLOWED A FLY appeals to a wide range of ages, though one 4-year-old called the book "creepy," perhaps because the old lady's eyes rotate wildly and independently in their sockets. Older readers will probably be content with one read-through, though the younger audience will demand repeat performances. No problem -- with this degree of busyness and action, the book never stales.
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