cover image I Know an Old Lady

I Know an Old Lady

G. Brian Karas. Scholastic, $14.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-590-46575-5

Karas (Like Butter on Pancakes, Children's Forecasts, Jan. 23) may not know why the old lady of the 1960 Rose Bonne/Alan Mills song swallowed the fly, but his funereal palette captures the mood of the rhyme in all its macabre splendor. Clad in a black dress and just-glimpsed white petticoat, an old lady gulps down a spider, a bird, a cat and larger and larger animals. Karas, meanwhile, responds with increasingly dark images; a TV displays weather reports of a thunderstorm, and ominous gray clouds gather as the lady grows green around the gills. Throughout, a boy with a notebook and camera-the narrator, perhaps-sneaks after the ever-fattening lady and documents her bizarre feast. Accommodating those readers who would rather not think about devouring a live goat, Karas discreetly places the lady's back to the audience as she shoves the animal headfirst down her gullet. The bounding lyrics, which playfully repeat the sequence in descending order, are irrepressibly gleeful. A musical arrangement is included. Ages 3-7. (Mar.)