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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  ·  34,830 ratings  ·  558 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. ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published September 1st 1997 by Viking Books for Young Readers (first published 1997)
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midnightfaerie
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
Ronyell
“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
...more
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
Rhayne
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
Jordan

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
...more
Typhani
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
Amber
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
...more
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
Nancy
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
...more
Shelby Summerville
This poem, made into a picture book is about an old lady who swallows a fly, then swallows more and more animals to try and get the fly then the other animals. It's a silly folk song made into book, where the solution to the problem is worse than the problem itself. So first the old lady swallows a fly, by oh by why did she swallow a fly, perhaps she'll die says the book. Next she swallows a spider to catch the fly. Well the old lady then realizes something must catch the spider so we swallows a ...more
Sierra Gonzales
Who hasn't read There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly? Anyone who hasn't picked up work done by Simma Taback definitely should! This children's modern classic is a masterpiece. the poetic piece includes a harmless old lady, or so the reader thinks.
The art style of this piece is wacky and colorful but included a diluted backdrop that narrows the readers attention. The hardcover and end pages depict the little old lady along with the fly, frog, cat, and the rest of her gobbled up friends.
The
...more
Christina Hyde
This review centers on the 1997 Caldecott winner “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly” illustrated and updated by Simms Taback. This story is a favorite American folk poem first heard in the United States in the 1940’s. Several different versions have come from Georgia, Colorado, and Ohio but the true original author remains unknown. Simms Taback took a new approach to a classic story by illustrating the whole book using mixed media and collage on kraft paper. He also uses holes in the pag ...more
RemiGuinto
The story is self-explanatory, about an old lady who begins by swallowing a fly. She then proceeds to swallow a spider, a bird, a cat, a dog, a cow, and a horse (in that order) so one animal could chase after the other. As she eats, she gets bigger and bigger until she dies in the end.

I enjoyed the visual aspects of the book using different forms of media, interactive pages that revealed in tiers what the old lady had eaten, and keeping the illustrations colorful, spontaneous, and whimsical. The
...more
Leslie Nunez
This book was one of my favorites when I was younger. This book is about a lady who eats and a fly then makes a soup. The book has small detail but at the same time very unique. 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 enjoy this book because it is so silly and "out there." The illustratio ...more
Amanda Deatherage
This book is a classic and I loved it as a kid. The story is about an old lady who swallows a fly, then a spider, then a bird, a cat, and so on. The book repeats that she swallowed the new animal to catch the previous one and ends with "I don't know why she swallowed the fly. Perhaps she'll die." So there is a bit of mystery to the book as she gradually eats larger and larger animals and grows larger and larger herself. With the addition of each new animal comes the question about if this will b ...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
...more
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
...more
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
...more
Avery Schlosser
Avery Schlosser
9/24/14
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
...more
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
Snorkle
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: http://reviewsatmse.blogspot.com/2008...
Julia Richards
I Know an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly is an cumulative tale folklore story about an old lady who decides to swallow a fly. After swallowing the fly she proceeds to swallow a spider to catch the fly and continues to swallow more creatures to capture the creature she swallowed before it until she dies. One thing that stood out to me from this book was the author’s illustration style. This story was illustrated and written through the layering of paper into a collage. The words are arranged on the ...more
Emily McCracken
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly by Simms Taback. I remember my grandparents reading this book to me as a young child; it was always a favorite of mine and still is today. When reading this book I found myself reciting the story word for word before I even turned the page. The pattern of this book is very evident and very catchy. The story builds upon itself and each time the Old Lady swallows something different to catch the thing she swallowed previously. This book shows children how ...more
Rhaynes5
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!
Dolly
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
...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...
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