so many interpretations of this classic rhyme, it's hard to imagine a new one would bring anything else to the story. There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly is not only silly and a favourite among children, but also utilizes many different consonant blend sounds (fly, swallow, spider, etc.). Past incarnations of the rhyme have had the old lady swallowing all sorts of things: sea creatures, seasonal trimmings, regional fare. So how does Rashin's version, one that doesn't stray from the original words, add anything?
Well I'll tell you. It's the illustrations. For one thing, we get a rare glimpse into how the animals feel about being swallowed! Do they actually chase each other around in her stomach, as the rhyme assures us they should? In this one, they do!
Just when I thought I couldn't be surprised by this familiar verse, I saw the picture of the bird trying to stop the knife-wielding spider from chasing the fly and I almost snorted milk out of my nose. (Okay, it was Diet Coke, not milk, but I should be drinking more milk so I pretended that I was. I wasn't, though. It was soda pop. It hurt when I laughed because of the fizz.)
Rashin Kheiriyeh has managed to bring back a manic joy to a story that I thought was long since exhausted. Well done!
There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly
Illustrated by Rashin Kheiriyeh
Published by North South Books
Publication Date: August 1, 2014
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