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)

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  32,620 ratings  ·  467 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...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
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...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
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
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.
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...more
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
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
Saashya Rodrigo
I have to admit, it took me about 3 reads to actually like this book. Originally, I just wasn't getting it. Second time around, I sort of understood the concept of it all. And by the third time I'd say it was pretty cute. I'm just not much for eating everything in site and growing sideways :)
Matthew Mealer
This book was great for teaching repetition and rhyming. Children will love it. It is quite silly and will provide laughs and giggles all around the classroom. Teaches a moral.

I did not like this stories ending. I mean she ACTUALLY dies.. o__O I was disappointed haha
Oct 25, 2008 Slayermel rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: any parents who have a sense of humour
This is one of my favourite children's stories, I always have way more fun with it when I sing along rather then just read it. The kids at work always chime in and sing along. The Illustrations are bright and funny and the children seem to really love them.
Kate Babbitt
This book is a well known children's book that keeps them on their feet both in what happens next but keeping track of what has happened. The main character is a lady who swallows a fly, and then a sort of food chain that goes on with what eats a fly, then what eats a spider, and the different animals she eats then that eats the animals she already had. It is a simple story that results in a simple ending of the lady dying because of everything she ate. It begins quickly and ends just as quick,...more
Kierstyn Stanley
There was an old lady who swallowed a fly, but we never really find out why she swallowed a fly. This book is a fun, entertaining poetry book that children get into. The little old lady swallows outrageous items like a spider and even a horse. How in the world can anyone do that?

I remember this story being sung during music class. It was one of our favorites and our music teacher began to resent us because our song of choice was always this song. The illustrations are usually outrageous and go a...more
Katelyn Spyhalski
This is a crazy, fun, hilarious book about an old woman who swallows a fly, then continues to swallow more animals to "catch" the fly. The book has cut-outs throughout the book that show what she swallowed next and why. I have read this book aloud to many different children and they love it. It makes an amazing read-aloud book. I think this book is so silly the kids really get into it, and it is very repetitive which makes it easy to remember and read along with. I always love reading this book...more
Taback, S. There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly. NY: Scholastic, Inc.

This a seemingly timeless story where the hilarity mounts as the old lady who swallowed a fly, swallows other animals to get rid of the fly until she is full to bursting.

This book is very silly and a great tool to have in the classroom. Reading level would be first or second grade and up, and the silliness of the book is what makes it so appealing. I heard this book when I was little and when I reread it I found myself sti...more
Emily Miller
I love using this traditional tale in my 1st grade classroom! There are many great versions of this story, but I like this one by Simms Taback because of the bright illustrations and elements of humor. The repetition in the text makes it easy for students to read along and really helps develop fluency. I like at the end of the story that it gives a little background information about this traditional tale and where it came from. It also shows the moral of the story which could be a great teachin...more
A frightening old bag lady gives children a lesson in the dangers of escalation.
Ramoths Own
what is more fun than a book that you all have to sing?
It is the best edition, yet!!
This book is a Caldecott weird too.
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Fun 2 12 Sep 16, 2013 03:04PM  
MCC Children's Li...: Caldecott - Challice #4 1 1 Feb 09, 2012 06:44PM  
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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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