Adapted and Illustrated by: Johnette Downing
Publisher: Pelican Publishing Company
Publication Date: October 2010
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: September 27, 2010
“There was an old lady who swallowed a fly. I don’t know why she swallowed a fly; perhaps she’ll cry.” How many of us learned this somewhat whacky, and very fun, song when we were young? I remember singing it over and over and giving myself a good laugh as I imagined all the strange things the old lady swallowed. Now, singer/songwriter Johnette Downing has put her own unique spin on the famous children’s song in this 2010 adaptation of There Was An Old Lady.
In this newest version, our friendly old lady decides to try some, um, rather interesting new tasty treats. Rather than swallow a cow (as she did in the version I was taught many years ago), our protagonist concentrates on the world of bugs with hysterical results:
“There was an old lady
Who swallowed a mosquito.
Well, it was eating her burrito,
So she swallowed the mosquito.”
The artwork in this latest version of the tale is done in a vibrant collage format that fits perfectly with the story. We never actually see a depiction of the old lady; instead we are shown a big mouth and tongue as they consume each bug, followed by a slowly filling tummy as the creatures congregate in their new “home.” The author also adds numerous colorful background visuals, such as flowers, a cattail, and a sunset. But wait! There’s a surprise ending where we do finally see the “Old Lady” and I’m guessing it will make most kids giggle with glee. Who is she? I can’t tell you that – you’ll have to read the book!
Quill says: A creative adaptation to a well known song that will have kids reading/singing along over and over.