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There Was An Old Monster!
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There Was An Old Monster!

3.61  ·  Rating Details ·  477 Ratings  ·  103 Reviews
A brand-new monster twist--by a Caldecott medalist and his daughter!

There was an old monster who swallowed a tick
I don't know why he swallowed that tick
'Cause it made him feel sick!

When he swallowed some ants, he danced in his pants. He swallowed a lizard, a bat, a jackal, and a bear. Then he tried to swallow a lion . . . ROAR!--Now that monster is no more! Children will l
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published July 1st 2009 by Orchard Books
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(showing 1-30)
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Nov 18, 2013 adrian rated it liked it
This book is a take on the children's song, "There was an old woman" except with a monster. The artwork is fun and this is great for beginning readers. My son is Kindergarten age and loved reading along with us as a family, and the accompanying disc plays the song which is also fun.
Brooke Beeson-king
Oct 20, 2015 Brooke Beeson-king rated it it was amazing
Always a favorite with kindergarten! The song on the Scholastic site makes it even more fun!
The Library Lady
Oct 28, 2009 The Library Lady rated it it was ok
I am NOT impressed by this book.
It's nice of the Emberleys to give their daughter/granddaughter some exposure by having her do a "song" of this book. And since I found the rhythm of this story unworkable to the traditional tune, I downloaded the "song".

I say "song" loosely--this is a rap and the "music" is just percussion. Not exactly high art that ought to advance Adrian Emberley's music career--if she can sing or play anything but a steady percussion beat--and my 10 year old can do that by set
Oct 26, 2009 Tressa rated it really liked it
Shelves: juvenile, humor
Set to the rhyme of There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, There Was an Old Monster is an even grosser tale of how not to remedy the mistake of swallowing something not meant to be consumed. The perpetuation of the monster's bad ideas are comical as he tosses back some ants to take care of the tick, a lizard to take care of the ants, a bat to take care of the lizard, a jackal to take care of the bat, a bear to take care of the jackal, a lion to take care of the bear, who takes care of the mo ...more
Katlin Sims
Jun 14, 2013 Katlin Sims rated it really liked it
This is a fun and creepy book that is a monster version of "There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly." Another great book for children who love monsters and all things creepy crawly! Could also be used with props to extend the concepts in the story. So there could be a monster prop in the form of some sort of box or container and then popsicle stick puppets of each of the things the monster swallows and then the children could retell the story putting each of the pieces into the box in order an ...more
Oct 07, 2012 Laura rated it it was ok
I came across this one in m search for a read aloud that included a song. The book begins with a monster who's feeling sick due to a tick he swallowed. He tries to fix the problem by swallowing a plethora of other insects, reptiles, and animals. It ends when he encounters a lion who's a little too much for the monster to handle. The illustrations are bold with bright accents. The song might be a little difficult to get at first so I recommend downloading the song that goes along with it. I can't ...more
Oct 24, 2009 Dolly rated it liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
Our girls love "Go Away, Big Green Monster" by Ed Emberley, so we figured we had to check out this monster book by him and his family. It's a good book, not nearly as entertaining as the original story, but has a catchy tune that you can listen to on the scholastic website at Listening to the "rap" song that follows this book, inspired by the "There was an old lady who swallowed a fly" tale, is a good way to get a feel for the rhythm of the book. I didn't get it on ...more
Scottsdale Public Library
It’s the classic rhyme, but with a twist! Unlike the old lady who swallowed a fly, this Old Monster swallowed a tick (which, of course, makes him sick). Preschoolers will delight in the succession of gross and icky creatures the Old Monster swallows to rid himself of the tick - including ants and a jackal. While monster-themed, the bright colors of the illustrations are engaging and fun, and obviously not designed to frighten children. All in all, this combines the right amounts of spooky and si ...more
Apr 18, 2011 Fatima rated it really liked it
“There was an old Monster” is quite similar to “There was an old Lady who swallowed a fly”. I read aloud the story “there was an old lady who swallowed a fly” for second and third grade boys and girls and they enjoyed reading it with me. I believe that the new rhyming book” There was an old monster” boys will love it more because boys like the character of monster. Moreover, the illustrations are attractive and colorful for both gender. This book may considred as one of the book award for 2012.
Sep 12, 2013 Magpie67 rated it it was amazing
I love all stories made that resembles the original story of the old Lady swallowing a fly.... I don't know why? Halloween is my favorite holiday of all times and this book is fitting for the fall season or anytime really.... T"here Was An Old Monster who swallowed a tick, I don't know why he swallowed a tick because it made him sick......" I believe this one needs to be added to my collection of other titles of old ladies swallowing crazy things... Sam asked lots of questions..... very serious ...more
Jan 10, 2017 Thabata rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2017
If this is not a children’s horror book with sinister humor, I do not know what it is. Never has a stomachache been so creatively insane, filled with rhymes within the pitch black pages. Using bright, neon colors, cubist-like illustrations, the Emberleys create a beast all of their own. The incongruous shapes and colors compose this crazy story where a monster eats a tick, ants, a lizard, a bat, a jackal, a bear… wait for it, for the very best is at the end. It is (probably) purposefully strange ...more
Best for kids ages 3 and up.
Early Literacy Skills: Print Motivation, Vocabulary, Narrative Awareness

From cover:
There was an old monster who swallowed a tick. I don't know why he swallowed the tick 'cause it made him feel sick. When he swallowed some ants, he danced in his pants. He swallowed a lizard ... a jackal ... a bear ... and a lion! ROAR!!!!! And then the monster was no more!

If you remember the old woman who swallowed a spider then you know where this book is going. The illustration are
Aug 28, 2012 Jessica rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
This picture book is truly a family effort, which I love. Wonderful colorful and silly pictures by the author's wife Rebecca and a fun story to sing out loud with the kids by Ed Emberley. And, as a bonus if you go to you can download a copy of the author's daughter rapping the lyrics to Old Monster set loosely the tune of the old song "There was an old lady who swallowed a fly" for free.
Amy Wadsworth
Nov 02, 2009 Amy Wadsworth rated it liked it
This book was a clever re-vamp of "There was an old lady who swallowed a fly," but I found myself trying to sing the words to the old familiar tune and the words didn't fit. It does have a downloadable song to go with it on So, with a little research, that small irritation may not matter. Plus, I'm sure it bothered me more than it would bother others. The illustrations are cute and the twist on the classic is fun, with a surprise ending.
Jan 09, 2013 Nicole rated it liked it
Fun circular story I picked up for the bright illustrations and ease of storytime application with the redo of "Old Woman Who Swallowed A Fly". Would go through once myself, using felt or other pics to keep the order as I went, and then would use the awesome song (available on web) that is sung by the granddaughter and go through again with the kids. Try to sing along or monster dance this go round!
Katy Houseman
Apr 05, 2012 Katy Houseman rated it it was amazing
This book is so fun for children. It`s told in rhyme and you can even sing along to it. The book is about a monster who swallows different animals. It is very similar to the books, "There was an old lady who swallowed...". This would be a great book for students who enjoy humor, monsters, and it would great to read around halloween. ...more
Brenna McEvitt
May 02, 2011 Brenna McEvitt rated it liked it
Shelves: k-3-books
This is a goofy version of the well-known There Was An Old Lady book and song. This book has colorful illustrations by Caldecott award winner Ed Emberley and funny text that children will enjoy. It can be read as poetry or even sung. This is great for fluency practice and for teaching rhythm in poetry. This book was nominated for the 2011 Colorado Children's Book Awards.
Oct 27, 2009 Tiffany rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: toddlers, preschoolers, boys
I read this to my three year old, and ended up singing an abbreviated version the rest of the day to him. He LOVED it. And I have to admit, as a mother of boys, this book was a lot more fun with a monster who eats lizards, ticks, and jackals, than an old woman who eats farm animals. I don't know why she swallowed the fly either, but a they'll eat anything.
Oct 30, 2012 Vicki rated it really liked it
It's always fun to "sing" a book to the Preschool crowd. Used this for our "Monster" themed story time. It did introduce some new vocabulary words. I believe I have used this before, for a Halloween theme. This time I was kinda feeling like it may be better/more appropriate for Kindergarteners??? Very cute illustrations.
Apr 12, 2012 Roxanne rated it liked it
Shelves: lcrt-5795, prek-2nd
This story is about a monster swallowed a tick, then some ants and so on. It is a delightful song. This is a good book for Pre-K and Kindergarten students. I would use this book for a readingwriting lesson. I would read aloud the book and use the book as a mentor text for students to write their own scary story.

Alma Loredo
Nov 28, 2010 Alma Loredo rated it really liked it
This book is very similar to There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly. This is also a great book to have students sequence the events that occurred in the story. There is a lot of repetition throughout the entire book. The monster, just like the old lady, eats different things. The monster at the end of this story is eaten by a lion rather than eating the lion.
Mitchell Ary
Oct 22, 2014 Mitchell Ary rated it liked it
Shelves: edrd-314
this monster inhales everything he sets eyes on. this book is not a big supporter of moderation or modern healthcare. however it was entertaining to watch this monster eat everything in his path. humorous, the illustrations were intriguing, and the plot was enjoyable to follow. id read this book again.
Kim Patton
Feb 05, 2011 Kim Patton rated it it was amazing
Kids love the "old woman who swallowed" something books, but this one is a fresh twist on that idea. The monster swallows a tick, some ants, and so on. My favorite part of this book is using it with the song you can download at and watching the kids sing & dance with it.
Oct 29, 2010 jacky rated it liked it
Recommends it for: toddlers - K
Usually, I am creeped out by versions of the "There was an old lady who swallowed a fly" song, but this one was okay. Maybe it was because it was a monster? Maybe it was because it didn't talk about him dying? Either way, this version was tolerable and even a little fun with the wiggling ants in the pants. A little twist at the end, too.
Destiny Thompson
Jul 17, 2015 Destiny Thompson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: a-feel-good-book
"There Was An Old Monster!," is a silly story set to the rhyme, "I know an Old lady who Swallowed a fly." This story is very silly, and will have the children trying to say it with you. This book offers very bright and colorful pages. There is also a sing- along CD that comes with. This would be a great circle time story.
Carrie Guipe
Sep 01, 2015 Carrie Guipe rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-children-s
I don't think it's unfair to be harsh when there are about 100 other 'There Was An Old...' books. This just isn't special enough. And clearly, it was just a way to get the daughter involved in a project or give her exposure. The song isn't melodious or memorable. Sounds like they had fun making it but we didn't have enough fun reading it.
Feb 13, 2010 Ruth rated it liked it
The artist has a kooky, fun, BRIGHT style in this one. The story is a tongue-in-cheek re-telling of "I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly." In this case, follow the monster as he swallows one thing after another (each one trying to eat up the previous creature), but there's a tiny twist at the end when he tries to swallow a lion. Good childlike fun.
Mar 21, 2013 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-books
Found this book while re-shelving the children's section at work. I paused for a minute and read the book. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and would recommend it for children, especially for the little boys who don't think "There Was an Old Lady" is gross enough.
Beth Baryon
Jan 02, 2013 Beth Baryon rated it liked it
Ok, so I love the art work (and monsters, of course)! It's a play on "there was an old lady who swallowed a fly." The song included is OK. For the most part this was a fun, Halloween-y activity to do with the sixth graders...
Jul 13, 2011 Jean rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
The kids LOVED this book, we played the song that goes with it during the second reading. You know a book is great when the kids chant, "AGAIN!AGAIN!"

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