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There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly
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There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly (Books With Holes)

4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  33,843 ratings  ·  506 reviews
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.
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published September 1st 1997 by Viking Juvenile (first published 1997)
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My children were eating dinner when I read this to them and my 5 yr old was disgusted and my preschoolers were fascinated. The book wasn't quite the old folk song that I remembered and I was a little disappointed. Certain verses were repeated twice and I'm not sure why. I tried to guess at the pictures, wondering if perhaps there was a reason they were repeated due to the imagery in the cut out holes not matching up, so another page had to be added, but it still didn't seem to make sense. Overal ...more
“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
Nicole Thompson
This book is perfect for a young reader, first because it is rhyming. rhyming books are perfect for new readers because it helps them associate letters to certain sounds. The words are very easy, and the story line is light and playful. A child would definitely enjoy this book because it is so silly and "out there." The illustrations go along perfectly because there are silly and kind of just thrown together as well. all of the different bugs and things she swallows are pictured very humorously ...more

This children's book is a creative illustrated story about the old lady who swallowed a fly. The storyline of this book is that the old lady ate insects and animals that kept increasing in size. The old, wacky lady was crazy enough to eat a horse. Perhaps she’ll die. When you read the story out loud, you find it catchy and start singing along.

The main character in this story is the old lady. The old lady is the one that swallowed the fly, spider, bird, cat, dog, cow, and the horse. She has crook
Summary: From cover to moral (never swallow a horse), this cleverly illustrated version of an old folk favorite will delight children. Each page is full of details and humorous asides, from the names of different types of birds, to a recipe for spider soup, to the rhyming asides from the spectating animals. As for the old lady, with her toothy grin and round bloodshot eyes, she looks wacky enough to go so far as to swallow a horse. A die-cut hole allows readers to see inside her belly, first the ...more
If you want a great book to go along with the song, this is the one for it! I have looked at the other version of this book, which is the board book, but it just is not the same! The illustrations in this book were made by using art media and collages on Kraft paper. Also, when it comes to the items that the lady swallowed or has swallowed, they are hidden in the picture on the page before or page after. Which makes it so cool. Then with some of the animals, like the bird, cat, and dog,these pag ...more
Samantha Gacke
An old lady has swallowed a fly, and continues to swallow more animals, which lead back to trying to catch the fly.

While the text in the book may be difficult to follow, children would really love the pictures! The pictures are all very bright, and they really stick out. Half of the pages have black backgrounds, which helps the reader focus on the pictures. Not only does the illustrator use vibrant colors, but also different patterns and textures to really draw the eyes to what is being told in
Jenna White
I remember this book from when I was in elementary school. I remember that our librarian would read this to my class for several years in a row and I loved it. I think kids would very much enjoy it because of the rhyming scheme from all the animals. Also, it's very entertaining because they know that a lady could never swallow a cow or a horse or any of those objects in real life. The pictures were fun to look at because of all the bright colors. I think the holes in the pictures are also neat a ...more
Published: 1997, Scholastic
Age: 4-8

This is a great interactive book to read or sing with children over and over. The hole in the pages showing the expanding stomach of the old lady and the silly things she swallows will capture children's attention. Older kids will like to read the asides on each page. The wide googly eyes of the characters, the matching confetti on the pages, and the mixed up font are all eye catching. The pages make you want to keep looking for quirky pictures such as the art
Death is not typically a topic one would consider when picking a book for kids, let alone in a sing-along fashion, but somehow There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly has continued to entertain children since the 1940’s. The ballad also continues to inspire illustrators whom continue to create their own colorful and unique renditions. Simms Taback famous artist and illustrator, whom is also known for Jospeh Had a Little overcoat as well as his Smithsonian calendars, created his own rendition o ...more
Deena Lernor
The boo by There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly by Simms Taback is about a lady who swallowed a fly and it led to here swallowing other animals. The old lady starts off by swallowing a fly she then swallows a spider to catch the fly. As the story continues to swallow animals to catch the animal she had previously swallowed. As the story progresses the lady starts to become bigger then ever because she ends up swallowing a horse at the end of the story. The old lady who swallowed the fly got ...more
Alexis Adelman
I loved this book! This book is about a old lady who swallowed many different things. It started her with swallowing a fly, then a spider, then a bird. Each time we wonder if she will die? After each thing she swallows it reflects back and says the maybe reason why she swallowed each thing. She swallowed the spider to eat the fly and the bird to eat the spider, and so on throughout the book with all the other animals she swallows. What other animals will she swallow, and will she die?

This book i
Nikki Howard
There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly is an interesting book for children to read. I remember reading this one over and over when I was in kindergarten. Not only did I read it, but I sang it. It is a story about a woman who swallowed increasingly large animals, each to catch the previously swallowed animal. First it was a fly, then a spider to catch the fly, a bird, a cat, dog, cow, and horse.

The theme of this story could be the food chain and the life cycle. It teaches children that typical
Alyssa Frank
The picture book There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly is a goofy story about an old lady who swallowed a fly. She swallows other animals to catch the animal so swallowed before. The old lady gets larger and larger as she swallows more animals until she gets so big she dies.

The format of this story is very different then others you may see. Its goofy context displays the text in an unconventional manner. You read up and down versus left to right for the most part. The words are in individual
Avery Schlosser
Avery Schlosser
There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly
In the book, There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly, the author Simms Taback uses a circular plot to tell the humorous story of an old lady who kept swallowing different things. First, the poor little old lady accidently swallows a fly. Throughout the book she continues to swallow different things. First she swallows a spider to catch the fly. Then she swallows a bird to catch the spider that she swallowed to catch the fly. Th
Kathryn Herbert
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, a fictional story written by Simms Taback, keeps children on their feet through silly humor and great interactions. Based on the traditional song, the main character is an old lady who swallows a series of animals. A die-cut hole approach offers a view for the readers to take a glimpse into the old lady’s belly. Throughout the storybook, the hole expands bigger and bigger to accommodate the increasing population that begins to grow inside her stomach. T ...more
Abigail Surmay
"There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly" is a favorite American folk poem, that was first heard in the United states in the 1940's, has now a twist. This more modern picture book on the story is written with the exact words of the song, but it now offerers a visual. Who's seen what went on inside the old lady's stomach? Simms Taback uses an ever expanding die-cut hold gives us a rollicking, eye-popping version of the well-loved poem, making an old favorite fresher and even funnier than ever b ...more
Austin G
There was on old lady who swallowed a fly, perhaps she will die. There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly is a humorous and entertaining book great for children. The book starts with a old lady who accidently swallowed a fly. Instead of going to the doctor, the lady decides to treat her self by swallowing a spider. I do not know why she swallowed a spider. To get the spider out the lady decides to swallow a bird, then a cat, a dog, a cow, and eventually a horse. After swallowing the entire grou ...more
This book was crazy. But then again...the whole little poem itself is a little off. I liked how the illustrations kept right along with the little old lady, who continued to swallow the must absurd things. And of course, at the end, what more can you expect? The colors in this book were bright and bold. I’d recommend this book, it was cute and fun to read.

*Taken from my book reviews blog:
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly is just a good funny book! Children will love this funny story and the interactive illustrations. I would use this book in the classroom to practice rhyming language with the students by letting them complete some of the sentences or just asking them what rhymes did you hear in this book. Not only is this a silly book young readers will enjoy but students will learn without even noticing!
Jan 11, 2009 Dolly rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
Wonderful illustrations make this book a great story for the kids. The cutouts and busy pages add a lot to this old ditty that has been passed down for generations, something I remember from my own kindergarten days. We also enjoyed watching the pages animated to the song as sung by Cyndi Lauper on a Scholastic Storybook Treasures DVD. It included seven other sing-along songs with animations of the illustrated books.
Carly Meyers
Jennifer Johnson, Kate Ballan, Carly Meyers
There was an old lady who swallowed a fly, we don't know why but perhaps she'll die. Next she swallowed a spider it wiggled inside her to catch the fly. Then she swallowed a bird, how absurd! She keeps swallowing animals to catch the animal she swallowed before that.
This story has rhyming words that capture the interest of the readers. This book can also be a sing along to make reading easier. The pictures are bright and cheery and hold the readers atte
Paige Cook
There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly by Simms Taback is a children’s cumulative book. The story is about an old lady who kept eating bugs and animals that were increasingly bigger than the last. It started with swallowing a fly and ended with her swallowing a horse. The lady is happy at the beginning until she keeps eating animals and then she becomes scared.
The old lady has lots of color on her dress. The book was detailed with colorful, vivid illustrations. The author was very creative
Taylor Melum
Citations: Taback, Simms. (1997). There was an old lady who swallowed a fly. New York, NY. The Penguin Group
Genre: Classic/ Humor/ Fiction/ Fantasy
Format: Picture book
Reading level: 1
Theme/topic: Humor

Summary: The book There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly by Simms Taback is a great and new take on the old story that has been told for years. When an old woman swallows a fly she keeps swallowing other animals to get the fly out. By the end of the book she has swallowed a whole horse. People o
Chris Evans Ramsey
There was an old lady who swallowed a fly, I don’t know why she swallowed a fly…….. perhaps she’ll die!!!!!!! This is the best poem ever. While the illustrations are a little off, they do certainly fit the book. They are also very kid friendly, I tried them out on my little buddies and they said it was my best performance. I have loved this poem forever and I have had it memorized for almost that long. It took me forever to find the book that went with it though. It must be very popular though b ...more
This is an interesting twist on a children’s book, There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly is remaking the old children’s folk tale song that went “there was an old lady that swallowed a fly, I don’t know why she swallowed a fly, perhaps shell die.” It gives a more descriptive side to the classic kids song. I would use this book in my classroom as an interactive book where the students could sing along with, take turns reading different parts and singing it as a whole. The song is already writ ...more
Tory Haberman
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly by Simms Taback is a fun and interactive book about an Old Lady who swallows a fly who then swallows a spider and so on so that the fly can be caught. As her stomach grows, will she eventually pop or will she ever be able to catch that darn fly?

This book has a vast array of bright colors and different styles of text that makes your eye flow throughout the picture. The cut-outs of different shapes of the animals that the Old Lady swallows is also a fun t
Teddie Trombley
This book is another spin off from the original book that first came out. This one is about an old lady who swallowed a fly but doesn’t know why and she thinks she might die. After she swallows the fly she swallows a spider so it can catch the fly. She then swallows a bird to eat the spider and then swallows a cat to eat the bird. The old lady keeps getting bigger and bigger while you turn each page and there is a hole cut out of her stomach to show all the different animals that she has ate. Th ...more
Amber Clapper
I love this book. I think the pictures in here are phenomenal. They are very colorful and detailed and go with the story perfectly.This book has a lot of humor in it and keeps everyone guessing what animal the old lady will eat next. I think all ages of kid will think this book is silly and enjoy it.
Mitzy Rodriguez
An interactive book, where children are able to play a role in storytelling. When I was younger I really enjoyed books that allowed me to participate in the book, whether it was pop-up pictures or lifting up a little flap on the page any sort of interaction always made me look forward to reading! The old lady who swallowed a fly is not only funny to children because it is nonsense for someone to eat animals but they can see what is going on inside the old ladies stomach! Smaller children have a ...more
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Simms Taback (born 1932) is an author and illustrator. He was born in the Bronx to a Jewish family. He is famous for illustrations for many children's books including, the Caldecott Medal winning, There was an Old Lady who Swallowed the Fly and Joseph Had a Little Overcoat, which have earned him many awards and praise in many circles. He was also a designer for CBS Records and The New York Times, ...more
More about Simms Taback...
Joseph Had a Little Overcoat This is the House that Jack Built Postcards from Camp I Miss You Every Day Simms Taback's Safari Animals

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