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There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly

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Forty years after its first publication this much-loved Child's Play classic is as popular as ever. Ingenious die-cut holes bring this iconic nursery rhyme to life, and Pam Adams' fabulous illustrations lend humour and vibrancy to the proceedings. Bouncy images, innovative die cutting and favourite rhymes make Books with Holes a must for every child. Available in three for Forty years after its first publication this much-loved Child's Play classic is as popular as ever. Ingenious die-cut holes bring this iconic nursery rhyme to life, and Pam Adams' fabulous illustrations lend humour and vibrancy to the proceedings. Bouncy images, innovative die cutting and favourite rhymes make Books with Holes a must for every child. Available in three formats, suitable for babies, toddlers, pre-schoolers and the nursery or classroom.


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Forty years after its first publication this much-loved Child's Play classic is as popular as ever. Ingenious die-cut holes bring this iconic nursery rhyme to life, and Pam Adams' fabulous illustrations lend humour and vibrancy to the proceedings. Bouncy images, innovative die cutting and favourite rhymes make Books with Holes a must for every child. Available in three for Forty years after its first publication this much-loved Child's Play classic is as popular as ever. Ingenious die-cut holes bring this iconic nursery rhyme to life, and Pam Adams' fabulous illustrations lend humour and vibrancy to the proceedings. Bouncy images, innovative die cutting and favourite rhymes make Books with Holes a must for every child. Available in three formats, suitable for babies, toddlers, pre-schoolers and the nursery or classroom.

30 review for There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly

  1. 4 out of 5

    Archit

    "Never swallow a horse." Period. This little book reminded me of a terrific rumor my classmates used to play on kids. They said that if you swallow a lemon seed, soon you'll have a tree inside your stomach. This idea used to terrify me back then, today I just chuckle thinking how much fun it was believing such stuff. "Never swallow a horse." Period. This little book reminded me of a terrific rumor my classmates used to play on kids. They said that if you swallow a lemon seed, soon you'll have a tree inside your stomach. This idea used to terrify me back then, today I just chuckle thinking how much fun it was believing such stuff.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sylvester

    4* art 5* song and concept Oh this is just funny. The peek-a-boo pages are especially suited to this song. And Squirt just roars with laughter when we sing "She swallowed a DOG?!!! What a HOG!!!". But the end, where she's dead, he cannot accept. "No she's not!" And that's that. (And we play it again.) 4* art 5* song and concept Oh this is just funny. The peek-a-boo pages are especially suited to this song. And Squirt just roars with laughter when we sing "She swallowed a DOG?!!! What a HOG!!!". But the end, where she's dead, he cannot accept. "No she's not!" And that's that. (And we play it again.)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Eunice

    As a small child, I found this book incredibly worrying because of its potential influence on young, impressionable children. The old lady seemed senile, in my humble opinion, as she found new-age, questionable methods to resolve minor ailments that her body was more than capable of fixing without aid. I found the rhymes incredibly repetitive and dull, the same way I view song-writers that use the same word to 'make a rhyme' (e.g. 'If you're one of US | Then roll with US'). I also felt that her r As a small child, I found this book incredibly worrying because of its potential influence on young, impressionable children. The old lady seemed senile, in my humble opinion, as she found new-age, questionable methods to resolve minor ailments that her body was more than capable of fixing without aid. I found the rhymes incredibly repetitive and dull, the same way I view song-writers that use the same word to 'make a rhyme' (e.g. 'If you're one of US | Then roll with US'). I also felt that her reasoning sounded like a poor excuse for binge-eating and obesity. In hindsight, I suppose this rhyme is catchy and amusing, but only when I look at it retrospectively as a 20-year-old.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tricia

    hahah i love this book!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Beyond the Pages

    This story is completely absurd and totally hilarious. I really liked the illustrations in this particular book. Great read for the kiddos.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Evan Fedewa

    Genre: Traditional Literature One Unique Feature: This books unique feature is that there are "holes" in the pages of the book to add effect to the story! Grade Level Suggested: K-2nd grade Genre: Traditional Literature One Unique Feature: This books unique feature is that there are "holes" in the pages of the book to add effect to the story! Grade Level Suggested: K-2nd grade

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    This one is for my mum. As a child I giggled and giggled over this book. We did funny voices and everything. It still makes me laugh out loud today. I am just a big kid!!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Joanne

    Review for There was an old lady who swallowed a fly by Pam Adams This is a fun story to read to your class and is most likely aimed for lower key stage one children. The story is about a lady who swallows a whole list of animals (fly, spider, bird, cat, dog, pig, goat, cow, donkey and a horse). The lady keeps swallowing animals to catch the last animal she swallowed. The comical element of the story is that the lady dies after she swallows the horse however she should have died after swallowing Review for There was an old lady who swallowed a fly by Pam Adams This is a fun story to read to your class and is most likely aimed for lower key stage one children. The story is about a lady who swallows a whole list of animals (fly, spider, bird, cat, dog, pig, goat, cow, donkey and a horse). The lady keeps swallowing animals to catch the last animal she swallowed. The comical element of the story is that the lady dies after she swallows the horse however she should have died after swallowing the bird. When telling the story to young children the words can be turned into a song which adds to the enjoyment element. The design of the book is also interesting and engaging for younger viewers as there are purposely created holes to see into the ladies tummy and all the animals she has swallowed. I read this book to a class of year one children and there was a lot of laughter throughout the book. I strongly feel that this story could motivate children when reading and therefore supports children reading for pleasure.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Martin Hunter

    This book tells the story of an old woman who swallowed a fly, spider, bird and a cat. This book follows a pattern; 'I know an old lady who swallowed a ...', which is attractive from the point of view of teaching rhythm and rhyme. However this is an extremely basic book, which could be infantile to the more advanced Primary 1 child, who would therefore gain little from having this book read to them. Thus this book may be more suited to the nursery classroom rather than the early primary setting. This book tells the story of an old woman who swallowed a fly, spider, bird and a cat. This book follows a pattern; 'I know an old lady who swallowed a ...', which is attractive from the point of view of teaching rhythm and rhyme. However this is an extremely basic book, which could be infantile to the more advanced Primary 1 child, who would therefore gain little from having this book read to them. Thus this book may be more suited to the nursery classroom rather than the early primary setting. The book could be used in the classroom to promote recall, rhyme and rhythm talking and listening skills. When basic high-frequency words are being taught, this book could be used to identify such.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    On the one hand: this book is much better than all the endless "There was an old lady" sequels with the terrible illustrations and unfunny jokes. On the other hand: it's hard to read if you don't already know the song by heart. Which you probably do. On the one hand: my children love this version. They would have me read (or actually sing) this book every single night. This is probably one of their top five books. On the other hand: I am so sick of it that I would kind of like to set it on fire in On the one hand: this book is much better than all the endless "There was an old lady" sequels with the terrible illustrations and unfunny jokes. On the other hand: it's hard to read if you don't already know the song by heart. Which you probably do. On the one hand: my children love this version. They would have me read (or actually sing) this book every single night. This is probably one of their top five books. On the other hand: I am so sick of it that I would kind of like to set it on fire in the back yard. I think that works out to three stars.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Siobhan

    A wonderful read from my childhood, one I’d certainly suggest for other youngsters. Whilst it is not my all-time favourite childhood read I can still recall all the details of this one meaning it certainly left a lasting impression upon my young mind. And isn’t that what we want with children’s books, for them to leave a positive lasting impression?

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dawn

    This children's classic was one of my niece's favorites. We had puppets and all to go with this lovely set that I must have read a million times ! I wish I could find the set to recommend this particular reading experience. The story is fun but the puppets added so much . I will keep looking. This children's classic was one of my niece's favorites. We had puppets and all to go with this lovely set that I must have read a million times ! I wish I could find the set to recommend this particular reading experience. The story is fun but the puppets added so much . I will keep looking.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Caroline

    This book is awesome - we had it at playgroup when I was little and I just found a copy at a yard sale for my 2 year old and she loves it too!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Emily (Mrs B's Books)

    A perfect read for a baby/toddler as the repetitive tone of your voice keeps them captivated along with the bright colours on the pages.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Merry Jelks-Emmanuel

    This classic draws children in and have them following along with everything that the old lady swallows. It is beautifully illustrated and will have you reading this one several times for your little ones.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Candace Worrell

    Not the easiest book to read aloud in story time with the writing going around and around as it does. The dying always made me uncomfortable reading it to 3-5 year olds, so I changed to to, "perhaps she'll cry" and the ending to, "She's sick in bed, of course." Not the easiest book to read aloud in story time with the writing going around and around as it does. The dying always made me uncomfortable reading it to 3-5 year olds, so I changed to to, "perhaps she'll cry" and the ending to, "She's sick in bed, of course."

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Larges

    Summary “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly”: This book brings back memories of driving to the mountains from Denver and singing this song with my family. This particular version by Pam Adams is a fun, joyous read because the illustrations are colorful and the presentation of her belly as the old lady eats more and more critters is playful and captivating for kids of all ages (plus, what a fun sing-a-long in the classroom!) Reading level: LG, BL 2.0 & 2.1 Characteristics that Support the Ge Summary “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly”: This book brings back memories of driving to the mountains from Denver and singing this song with my family. This particular version by Pam Adams is a fun, joyous read because the illustrations are colorful and the presentation of her belly as the old lady eats more and more critters is playful and captivating for kids of all ages (plus, what a fun sing-a-long in the classroom!) Reading level: LG, BL 2.0 & 2.1 Characteristics that Support the Genre: Rose Bonne’s poem is cleverly illustrated by Pam Adams, who captures the lightheartedness and visual interest to make this particular version of the story a book to be read and looked at again and again. Mentor Writing Traits: Idea: The character of this story is an old lady who swallows critters. It’s a silly poem with a repeating stanza of “I don’t know why she swallowed the fly. Perhaps she’ll die!” Organization: The logical progression in the book and illustrations is that the old lady just swallows bigger and bigger things, adding to the humor and fantasy of the story. Voice: n/a Word Choice: The words of this poem are silly and sweet, such as the spider who “wriggled and jiggled inside her”, clearly creating images for the listener. Sentence Fluency: There is natural rhythm to the poem, which has several “verses” and always ends with the chorus of “I don’t know why she swallowed the fly. Perhaps she’ll die” (until the end, when she swallows a horse). Again, just silly and nonsensical humor! Conventions: The font is simple, bold and clean with short sentences to support the illustration. Presentation: The best thing about this book is the presentation. As you turn each page, presenting a new critter the old lady has swallowed, there’s a cut-out in the center of the page, showing the fly, the spider, the cat, etc… with the words encircling the cutout. Classroom Integration: This would be a book to read after teaching the song so kids could match the words with the music and support their reading/spelling skills. Other Suggestions: It might be fun to incorporate this into a creative arts lesson where the students could write their own poem and make a picture book utilizing some cut-aways.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Sherman

    The layout of this book is interesting but this book isn't the best version of this story The layout of this book is interesting but this book isn't the best version of this story

  19. 5 out of 5

    Maribeth Carreon

    Based on the classic children’s book There was an old lady who swallowed a fly, the author, Pam Adams invites us along a not so sweet journey with an old lady, to analyze her strange methods of fixing her body. It starts off with her unintentionally or purposely, who knows, swallowing a fly. And somewhere off the page it leaves a hint of the next critter or creature she’ll eat next. This methodology portrays the food chain, an organizational chart or graph of organisms and what they eat. It incl Based on the classic children’s book There was an old lady who swallowed a fly, the author, Pam Adams invites us along a not so sweet journey with an old lady, to analyze her strange methods of fixing her body. It starts off with her unintentionally or purposely, who knows, swallowing a fly. And somewhere off the page it leaves a hint of the next critter or creature she’ll eat next. This methodology portrays the food chain, an organizational chart or graph of organisms and what they eat. It includes a predator who is an organism that eats a prey. A prey is the organism that is eaten by the predator. Without even thinking about it, the little details of candy in the old lady’s pockets shows that she has an eating disorder that she eats too much. She is shown as a very round and obese woman which displays that she plays a huge consumer role (pun intended). A possible reason she solves her problems is by eating them away. However, her face expression stays the same, smiling all the way until the end. Throughout the story, tone and language used is a repetitive rhyme. I think that this is a good choice of element because when it is read aloud or in our heads it will stay and sound like a song. Rhyme can also control the pace of the story which can intensify the mood of the reader or listener. Each page repeatedly said what she previously ate. It reminds me of the Christmas song “The Twelve Days of Christmas”. The illustrations and colors are vivid and eye drawing. As each animal she passes to eat it cuts a hole in her stomach of the animal. At the end of the story the author writes the story one last time with “etc.” in some parts and showing all that the old lady ate starting from the fly.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Aby Vela

    This is one of my favorite books ever. I remember my mom reading this to me as a child and I loved every second of it. This book is very predictable once you get to the second or third page. The rhyme of the story is phenomenal and so much fun to read, especially aloud. I like how the first phrase is about the old lady swallowing something and then the next is in amazement about how she did that, but it always rhymes. I think this is a great book for children to read and also to be read to becau This is one of my favorite books ever. I remember my mom reading this to me as a child and I loved every second of it. This book is very predictable once you get to the second or third page. The rhyme of the story is phenomenal and so much fun to read, especially aloud. I like how the first phrase is about the old lady swallowing something and then the next is in amazement about how she did that, but it always rhymes. I think this is a great book for children to read and also to be read to because of its silly story, as well as its pattern. It is important for children to be able to understand patterns and with this story they can easily predict what happens next. The only thing about the edition that I read that was a little difficult to read, was that every time you turn the page, all the previous phrases that had already been read were there to be repeated. Although this is fun to reread all of them because they rhyme, the way they were positioned on the page was difficult to see and read. They were printed in a very small font and in a circular motion, so it took a second to be able to make out what it says. Once you read the first couple pages though, you get the pattern and rhythm and it comes easier. I love this book and it will definitely be read to my children.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Danielle Lardeo

    5 stars for the story itself -- this one of my favorites as a kid and my husband and I were EXTREMELY disappointed when newer versions didnt say "I guess she'll die." -- this one does! It's a bit long for my 1 year old to be able to completely focus for, but she does love the design of the book. 4 stars for formatting -- the way the book is laid out makes it difficult to read correctly. The book as both my husbamd and I remember it is similar to the "12 Daya of Christmas" where each verse repeats 5 stars for the story itself -- this one of my favorites as a kid and my husband and I were EXTREMELY disappointed when newer versions didnt say "I guess she'll die." -- this one does! It's a bit long for my 1 year old to be able to completely focus for, but she does love the design of the book. 4 stars for formatting -- the way the book is laid out makes it difficult to read correctly. The book as both my husbamd and I remember it is similar to the "12 Daya of Christmas" where each verse repeats the entirety of the previous verses....this book seems to cut off phrases and/or words, making it difficult to recount properly. Still enjoyable, but it kinda threw off my groove to read it.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Itzel

    In this book, it was about a very hungry old lady. She starts off by eating a fly. But obviously she was still hungry so she ate a cat so the cat could eat the fly. Then she swallowed another animal to eat the cat and the fly. This continues through out the book until something happens. It is something that you would think would happen after you eat. This story had a lot of repetition. This is because it always starts out with “There was an old lady who…” Also because it repeats all the animals In this book, it was about a very hungry old lady. She starts off by eating a fly. But obviously she was still hungry so she ate a cat so the cat could eat the fly. Then she swallowed another animal to eat the cat and the fly. This continues through out the book until something happens. It is something that you would think would happen after you eat. This story had a lot of repetition. This is because it always starts out with “There was an old lady who…” Also because it repeats all the animals she has eaten through out the story. It is an easy read to have children to read it to. Children will easily catch know the book because of the rhythm the story has. It is catchy just like a song. The illustrations in this book were very colorful. All the illustrations show exactly what the story is about. It is easy to flow the illustrations because they flow right with the words. You would also be able to read it with out actually reading it because the illustrations tell the story about what the old lady has eaten or will eat. Some of the illustrations hint to what will be the next animal to be eaten. It is very interactive and kid friendly.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    Finally!!! I've been hoping to come across a copy of this book, and it happened today. Best of all, it's in almost new condition. There must be dozens of different versions of this rhyme, but this is the best I've seen. The illustrations that show what's going on inside that silly woman's stomach fascinate the little kids. When the old lady dies (of course), we always agree that this is just a silly story and the lady was always imaginary. No one would ever swallow all of those things! I suspect Finally!!! I've been hoping to come across a copy of this book, and it happened today. Best of all, it's in almost new condition. There must be dozens of different versions of this rhyme, but this is the best I've seen. The illustrations that show what's going on inside that silly woman's stomach fascinate the little kids. When the old lady dies (of course), we always agree that this is just a silly story and the lady was always imaginary. No one would ever swallow all of those things! I suspect that after watching the kids' reaction to the story, I will be changing the rating to 5-stars. We'll see.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kelsi-Rhea Kemp

    This is my 4 year old son's absolute favorite book! I personally didn't think that it was all that great, but when he spotted it at a yard sale last year; he had to have it! Since that day I have read this book 100s of times! I don't understand why he loves it but I've taken advantage of the situation and created a ton of activities to go with it. I've made puppets and doll with a pouch. We've discussed the sequence of the story, fiction vs. non fiction, food chains, and made playdough environme This is my 4 year old son's absolute favorite book! I personally didn't think that it was all that great, but when he spotted it at a yard sale last year; he had to have it! Since that day I have read this book 100s of times! I don't understand why he loves it but I've taken advantage of the situation and created a ton of activities to go with it. I've made puppets and doll with a pouch. We've discussed the sequence of the story, fiction vs. non fiction, food chains, and made playdough environments so that he can create his own similar stories. My point is that even though I didn't love this book, it is so versatile and can be used in so many different ways!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Melissa RDG 3320

    I really enjoyed this book as a child and to this day. I believe it is because of the repetitiveness. This is also why children enjoy reading this book. This book is great to use with your students to retell the story using a felt board. The story is very catchy and the students are able to recite it using the felt board. I've seen a group of students do this activity and they really enjoyed it. I really enjoyed this book as a child and to this day. I believe it is because of the repetitiveness. This is also why children enjoy reading this book. This book is great to use with your students to retell the story using a felt board. The story is very catchy and the students are able to recite it using the felt board. I've seen a group of students do this activity and they really enjoyed it.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Janice Redding

    This is a great picture book, and it is a great read for all students beginning in Kindergarten. I can use this book for a science lesson to organize a fourth grade lesson by having the students create a food chain based on the animals mentioned in the book. First graders could complete a sequencing activity on the order of the animals that she ate. Kindergarten students can write and draw about their favorite part of the book. A teacher can do a lot with this book.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tanisha James

    The vibrant illustration are eye catching. The old lady swallow a fly but discovered she needed to get that fly out of her belly that wiggled and jiggled and tickled inside her. So she comes up with an idea. This book can aid teachers building communication, language and literacy skills when talking about the old lady that swallowed the fly. Children can practice problem solving skills also when discussing some new solution to help the old lady.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Niko Gregg

    While I was growing up, this might have been my favorite picture book. I found the pictures very funny and engaging and every picture made me want to look at the next one to see how big the Old Lady got because of how much she was eating. In the classroom, I would bring this in and read it to my class if I were to teach kindergarten through 2nd grade because it is an enjoyable book that everyone can have a fun time with.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Adams

    This childhood books tells the story of an old lady who swallowed many different objects.This book would best be suited for a daycare or pre-k classroom just because it creates laughter for children on that level. Students could imagine and color pictures of what they imagine they can swallow. The teacher can also provide a picture of a old lady and students can draw what they believe can go in her stomach.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Maggie Wells

    "There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly" is a book that makes children laugh, and the version I have, it is also fun because it is interactive with holes that overlap till the end. The only thing I didn't like was using the words "perhaps she'll die", as children probably shouldn't be hearing or using that language at such a young age. Overall, it keeps the student engaged and laughing, which is always a good thing. "There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly" is a book that makes children laugh, and the version I have, it is also fun because it is interactive with holes that overlap till the end. The only thing I didn't like was using the words "perhaps she'll die", as children probably shouldn't be hearing or using that language at such a young age. Overall, it keeps the student engaged and laughing, which is always a good thing.

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