There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly

Another week without reviews -- but this time I have a good reason, I swear!  You see, I'm a dad again and a happy one at that.  Our daughter is doing great and so is my wife; even my son seems to be handling it quite well.  Best of all for you, it gives me an extra three years of Kid Book Ratings if I stick to my goal... 

*Normally, I don't love side-commentary taking away from the flow of the story, but the way Simms Taback rhymed it out made it work  
*I don't think the expanding "die-cut hole" is really as inventive as the publisher wants us to believe, but it does catch a little child's eye
*Kind of a nice touch to have the old lady get fatter as she ate

*I cannot believe this thing won a frickin' Caldecott because the pix are disgusting -- a back cover consisting of only fly species should have been a clear giveaway 
*I've always thought that the nursery rhyme lost its way once she started swallowing a cow to catch the dog and, subsequently, the horse to catch the cow -- up until that point it involved sending in natural predators after their prey 
*My wife and I are both in agreement that there could have been a craftier ending than just having her die (I know that would change the original premise, but mortality is almost always a terrible plot point, especially as a conclusion)

 hate that Taback is making me show my evil side to my daughter right off the bat, but I guess it's not the worst thing in the world for her to know early on that I can lay down the law when need be!  As you know by now, I am not a fan of authors hijacking old kiddie limericks for the sake of making some bank.  In this case, he at least added some extra content to freshen it up a bit.  But it is still gonna get a Destroy from me because its a prime example of a story that should have never won one of the top two awards in kidlit.     

Buy / Borrow / Donate / DESTROY


Jeane said...

Ha ha. My mom has an old copy of a book with this rhyme, die-cut holes and all but much more attractive illustrations than your cover leads me to imagine. I never got why a cow would chase a dog, either.

Beth said...

Adults have problems with the death and the cow and horse as follow-ups, but usually the kids love it.

Some picture books are better for the kids than the adults.

Apostrophe Books said...


I'd like to introduce our children's e-books, for possible review:

In the distant mouse kingdom of Carminel, a terrible civil war has broken out. As the King’s soldiers lie defeated on the battlefield of Barrowdown, it appears the fight for power between the noble King and the wily Cardinal is finally over. But where is Gideon, the Eagle Warrior, the most valiant mouse in the whole land, and the only hope for a return to peace in these terrifying times? The hunt is on to find Gideon and set the Crown of Carminel on the rightful head. But will it be too late?
Roger Mortimer‘s Eagle Warrior is the first book in the best-selling Mouse Kingdom series that also includes Eagles’ Revenge and The Ruby of Carminel.

The Rat-Kind are plotting to wipe out the Mouse Kingdom of Carminel in this thrilling story from acclaimed author Roger Mortimer. Only Rufus, a slave, can stop them. First, though, he must find the ancient treasures of the Lord of Light and enlist the help of the legendary eagles of Carminel.
Pursued every step of the way by ruthless rat warriors, Rufus is tested to the limit. Is he brave, strong and fast enough to find the treasures before the rats get them… or will the rats get Rufus first?
Eagles’ Revenge is the second book in the best-selling Mouse Kingdom trilogy that also includes Eagle Warrior and The Ruby of Carminel.

The island of Carminel lies in peril in Roger Mortimer‘s latest story. The Black Widow Empress Ravanola has sent her wicked stoat warriors, led by Lord Malatesta, to steal the Great Ruby and destroy the peaceful Mouse Kingdom for ever.
Only the brave Captain Roamer and his band of fearless sea-mice stand ready. But can they rescue the ruby from the clutches of the evil spider, defeat Malatesta’s mighty fleet at sea, and defend their home from the cruel invaders?
The Ruby of Carminel is the final book in the best-selling Mouse Kingdom trilogy that includes Eagle Warrior and Eagles’ Revenge.

Please do let me know if you'd be interested in reviewing these e-books.

Best wishes,