There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly

Simms Taback, Author
Simms Taback, Author Viking Books $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-670-86939-8
Reviewed on: 09/01/1997
Release date: 09/01/1997
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-87499-780-4
Compact Disc - 978-1-59112-408-5
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-87499-778-1
Hardcover - 978-0-87499-779-8
Compact Disc - 978-1-59112-607-2
Paperback - 978-0-590-63188-4
Hardcover - 1 pages - 978-1-59112-409-2
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In Taback's (Joseph Had a Little Overcoat) ingenious take on the cumulative tale, there's a die-cut hole where the old lady's stomach should be, so the audience can see where everything she swallows ends up. What's more, the hole grows bigger to accommodate the increasing gastro-population--by the tale's end, it's the size and shape of the horse that causes her demise. The digested wide-eyed animals float in a confetti-dusted space (which matches her dress), while everything about the elderly woman's exterior is equally askew, including the pupils in her eyes. Older children should get a kick out of the amusing asides liberally tucked into every spread. For example, there are bogus front page headlines (""LADY WOLFS DOWN DOG"" screams one); a recipe for ""Spider's Soup""; editorial comments by the menagerie and Taback himself (""Even the artist is crying,"" says a small caricature of Taback when she meets her gluttonous end); as well as factual information (various types of flies, birds or dogs are clearly labeled and paired with accurate pictures). The gleefully dizzy mood is intensified by Taback's use of black hand-lettered words set in blocks of bright colors laid atop orange or black backgrounds, and occasionally sprinkled with collage images (whose sources range from old field guides to the Wall Street Journal). Children of all ages will joyfully swallow this book whole. All ages. (Sept.)
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