Elena Hitch's Reviews > There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly by Simms Taback
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's review
Feb 06, 12

bookshelves: pattern-predictable
Read in February, 2012

** spoiler alert ** There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly was named a Caldecott honor book, but after reading the book I find no reason it couldn’t have been the winner. The story follows an old lady who swallows a fly, then in an effort to eliminate the fly from her stomach she swallows a spider. Following the same pattern she swallows a bird to catch the spider then a cat, dog, cow, and finally a horse. For the entirety of the story, the text questions if she will die after swallowing all of these creatures. The text follows a simple rhyming pattern that isn’t overwhelming or nauseating to the reader. The ending is incredibly funny because, although the entire story foreshadows the old lady dying, the death is still a bit of a shock. The illustrations do the book a great justice by interacting with the text and telling the story. The interactions between the illustrations and story are unique because on certain turns of the pages the reader can actually see the animals in the old lady’s stomach. On top of that creative feat, the illustrations show the old lady’s body growing each time she swallows these animals which is a nice touch because towards the end her body is taking up the entire page.
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