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A Fly Went by (Beginner Books B-3)

4.09  ·  Rating Details  ·  9,574 Ratings  ·  147 Reviews
Illustrated in color. A fly went by, followed by a frog, who's chased by a cat, who's chased by a dog and a host of other frantic characters, in a humorous cumulative tale.
Hardcover, First, 72 pages
Published September 12th 1958 by Beginner Books, Inc, New York; Random House, Canada Ltd., Toronto
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Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice SendakThe Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric CarleThe Giving Tree by Shel SilversteinGreen Eggs and Ham by Dr. SeussGoodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Best Children's Books
384th out of 3,534 books — 5,272 voters
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric CarleThe Grouchy Ladybug by Eric CarleThe Very Quiet Cricket by Eric CarleDiary of a Worm by Doreen CroninA Fly Went by by Mike McClintock
Picture Books with Bugs
5th out of 96 books — 72 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Feb 15, 2015 Patrick rated it it was amazing
I just read this book with my oldest boy, age 5.

I'd read it long ago, and enjoyed it well enough. But today was an entirely different experience, because today we read this book together.

I actually found him sitting in the stairwell flipping through the book on his own. He does this sometimes, when Sarah and I are busy. I love that he loves books. And I love that he looks through them even when he can't make out all the words by himself.

So what makes this a good kid's book?

1. It's a long boo
Jun 06, 2009 Charlotte rated it really liked it
This book was a favorite of mine when I was a kid. It lived at my Nana's house, and I read it and "Put Me in the Zoo" and "The Cat in the Hat Comes Back" every time we visited. I remember looking for it on at one point, but I believe it was out of print. I was superpsyched to get it for Charlotte, even though it's kind of old fashioned and violent compared to what early readers get these days. When Charlotte was tiny, I could read it to her and she liked the rhythm. Nowadays she doesn ...more
Jenna Kennedy
Oct 26, 2014 Jenna Kennedy rated it it was ok
The boy saw a fly go by, oh dear! The little boy asks the fly that flew by why he was so fearful, and he shook saying there was a frog coming after him. So the boy asks the hopping frog why he is after the fly. He replies, “I am no after the fly” and continues to hop away, seeing that there is a cat chasing him. When the little boy in his bright red shirt stops the cat at a halt he questions him about why he is chasing the frog. The mystery of who is chasing who, and the reason why everyone is i ...more
Alesha Palmer
Mar 29, 2015 Alesha Palmer rated it it was amazing
There once was a boy on a lake in a boat. He sees a fly go by and a frog. He was a very curious boy. He wanted to why so many animals were chasing each other. He was determined to make them stop chasing each other. Next thing he knows, a pig was chasing the dog was chasing the cat chasing the frog who ran from the fly. On and on there were more animals chasing each other and the boy continued to understand why they were all chasing each other. They travel faster and faster to get away from each ...more
Apr 04, 2011 Dolly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: beginning readers and parents reading with them
Shelves: childrens, pets, rhyming, 2011
This is a fun story that builds upon itself and leads to a funny conclusion. It's a good book for beginning readers, with lots of simple words and a repetitive narrative, but I will caution that it is pretty long. Our youngest did a great job reading it, but she got tired about halfway through, so I took over. It's a fun book to read aloud.
April Scheivelhud
Mar 08, 2010 April Scheivelhud rated it it was amazing
This is a classic story of cause and effect. A little boy is relaxing by the lakeside, but all of a sudden a fly went by. The fly was chasing an animal that was chasing another animal, and so on. There is a lot of rhyming and repetition in this story. Very fun story.
Robert J
Mar 05, 2015 Robert J rated it it was amazing
A Fly Went By was published in 1958 the year I was born. As I started to read it all came back to me. I remember reading it as a young child. Like a good friend that you may not have seen for a while a good book has a way of bringing back such great memories when your paths cross again. And so it was for me with this book. I found myself trying to remember which animal was coming next in the long succession of unintended consequences. The illustrations are also very humorous with the facial expr ...more
Kapra McMichael
Apr 12, 2011 Kapra McMichael rated it it was amazing
Shelves: rhyming
-A book about animals being chased by other animals of larger size
-A good rhyming book
Jan 14, 2011 Karen rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens-books
This is one of my daughter's favorites. We get it from the library time and again!
Mar 05, 2008 Gabi added it
Gregg, you got ur story from this! OMG!
Joyce Czarny
Jul 08, 2014 Joyce Czarny rated it it was amazing
I can remember sitting at my grandparents house on Rowan St. in Philly, hiding behind this book as 20 cousins, all their parents and god only knows what else went by me, while reading this book. The image is very clear. And I taught myself to read with this book too. And it is a vivid image of the chair, the fireplace, the mantel, and the noise, and how the book seemed to save me. I was 6 or 7 years old. Great book! Stop being afraid and just be kind is the message.
A Fly Went By is about a boy who sees a bunch of animals that all think the animal behind them is chasing them. At the end you find out that what started the chase was a baby sheep with a can stuck on its foot that's trying to get help but ends up scaring a hunter who started running.

This book could be used to teach children to be aware of their surrounds, so that you aren't running from something that isn't really chasing you.
Oct 12, 2015 Teresa rated it really liked it
This is a story about a boy sitting by a lake that witnesses a parade of characters go by that are presumably being chased by something. The story has a surprising ending about the character that began the whole chase.
This is a story that children will enjoy repeating over and over again. The concept that a boy can speak with creatures and solve a mystery will entertain children.
Austin Wright
Feb 03, 2015 Austin Wright rated it really liked it
My friend Kevin is reading a list of best children's books. I am following suite in order to discuss the books with him. By default, I give the books four-stars because they're good at what they're intended to do, which is to keep the attention of children and introduce them to literature.

This book contains a trope of an Confused Hunter. Common in Children's books.
Nathan Cunningham
Jul 14, 2015 Nathan Cunningham rated it really liked it
My parents sent me home with this book after they babysat my son a couple weeks ago. I had forgotten all about it, but in the front cover I found my name written in my first-grade handwriting. What a treat from the past! My son and I really enjoyed reading this book together, and I'm glad I get to share it with him.
Terry Pretz
Sep 23, 2015 Terry Pretz rated it it was amazing
Okay, I'm an adult and I giggled all the way through this book as I was reading it to my daughter. She kept telling me, Daddy quit laughing, I want to hear the rest. It's well written and the art is perfect for this story. This is an excellent bedtime or anytime book for children (and adults).
Jul 13, 2015 Devo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My daughter, Zoe's, review:

I really liked "A Fly Went By". It was funny. The most funny part was when the kid figured out why everybody was running. I think others would like it. It is about how a fly went by. The story takes place at a lake. I encourage others to read this because it is great.
Craig Fischer
Apr 12, 2014 Craig Fischer rated it it was amazing
While this is probably the weakest 5 star rating I've given, I really enjoyed this book. The string of cause and effect in this book is actually quite genius, and I really like -some- of the character desings (some look so bad haha--the frog) but it was a great little book. Glad I picked it up.
Monica Tomasello
This was an okay story, definitely great for a beginning reader with lots of repetition and simple words. The rhyming text was a little too forced at times, making the read-aloud a little awkward, but the illustrations are cute and I'm sure kids would enjoy the story.
Jul 31, 2015 Amanda rated it liked it
It's a fine kid's book, plot wise - but OMG, for my daughter the beginning reader, it felt like she was trying to read Infinite Jest or War and Peace or something. She was persistent about slogging through until the end, so I suppose there is that.
Mar 06, 2015 Vorbis rated it really liked it
This book has great rhythm and lots of repetition (with enough minor variation that it's not annoying). It's fun to read out loud, and I look forward to having it read to me sometime in the future. Very manageable language for early readers.
Sep 21, 2012 Sakeena88 rated it really liked it
I've stumbled upon this book review and flashed back my childhood memory along with other books (which i've forgotten the titles) Could anyone point out the title of a book about flying car adventure (most probably from the series) I wonder where were they since we couldn't find them (as we moved a lot!) Do offer me if you've extra copies from the beginner series of Dr Seuss as I'd love to keep it for my dd (+ next gen perhaps? Even I once thought The Cat in the Hat was the weirdest creature on ...more
Abby Tipton
Feb 19, 2016 Abby Tipton rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens-lit
Classic story book with cause and effect. A little boy watches a fly go by. A lot of repetition and fun as each animal is being chased or is chasing another. I had this book growing up and my siblings enjoyed it as well!
Apr 20, 2015 Courtney rated it it was amazing
This is a book about a little boy on an adventure to see what is chasing all the animals he sees running. It would be a fun book for children to read that will keep them interested through the whole story.
Demetrius Sherman
Jan 01, 2015 Demetrius Sherman rated it it was amazing
I read this as a child and I am rating it highly because it is one of those books that a child can enjoy reading. This is important as enjoying a book motivates a child to read more.
Margaret Samuels
Feb 03, 2016 Margaret Samuels rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids-books
G 5yrs: "I think it's a learning book because pig and big rhyme. I like the way it sounds. This book was funny because they were all scared of something, but it wasn't real."
Rima Aroutiounian
May 29, 2014 Rima Aroutiounian rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 1
Which animal is causing the fuss. Written by McClintock with his fun writing and illustrations will attract kids and adults as well. Great book for narrative skills.
Jul 04, 2015 Nick rated it it was amazing
A classic children's book. Lots of funny rhymes, funny pictures, and a great ending for the hero of a little boy who started out looking at the sky.
Nov 16, 2015 David rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone with small children
A Fly Went By by Mike McClintock (Beginner Books 1958)(Fiction - Children's). "I sat by the lake and looked at the sky, and as I looked a fly went by" is the opening to one of the best kid's books of all time. I adored it, my kids adored it, and I hope to read it to grandchildren one day. The fly is chased by a frog, the frog is chased by a cat, the cat is chased by a dog, the dog is chased by a pig, and on and on. But nobody seems to know why they are chasing or being chased! It's the kind of s ...more
Aug 26, 2014 Anna rated it it was ok
I felt that this was an okay book. The theme of the book was really good but I thought it was a bit long and lost interest quickly.
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