From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 2-This goofy adaptation of "I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly" begins, "I know a shy fellowâ¦/â¦who swallowed a cello./I don't know why he swallowed a cello./Perhaps he'll bellow." The instruments the man guzzles come from a wide variety of venues, including a sax from a jazz ensemble, a fiddle from a rockabilly band, and a kazoo from a child's birthday party. When he imbibes "the teeniest, tiniest, petite cascabel," his belly finally rebels and out of his mouth "jingled the bell," "buzzed the kazoo," "tooted the flute," etc., until "â¦last but not least,/out cha-chaed the cello!" This is a high-spirited and amusing story, and most of the rhythms work well. O'Brien's dynamic cartoons, highlighted with energetic pen-and-ink lines, vibrate with color and action. The main character continually changes shape to reflect the proportions of each instrument he consumes, and his antics are a good match for this silly but enjoyable romp.-Shelley B. Sutherland, Niles Public Library District, IL
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PreS-Gr. 2. As the title indicates, this takeoff is based on the familiar cumulative song, "The Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly." In this case, a shy fellow with an appetite for music gulps down a cello, harp, sax, fiddle, cymbal, flute, kazoo, and cascabel. Then he coughs up each instrument, producing an eclectic musical ensemble. The bouncy narrative injects fresh imagery and energetic language into the traditional ditty. The elongated, goofy-looking characters, especially the fish-faced "shy fellow," amplify the silliness. The busy, frizzy illustrations, filled with musical foliage, are too detailed for groups, but the story is a surefire read-aloud, and kids will enjoy examining the pictures afterward. Linda PerkinsCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved