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OLD BLACK FLY by Jim Aylesworth


by Jim Aylesworth & illustrated by Stephen Gammell

Age Range: 3 & up

Pub Date: April 10th, 1992
ISBN: 0-8050-1401-2
Publisher: Henry Holt

"Old black fly's been/buzzin' around...And he's had a very/busy bad day," begins this alphabetical litany of misdemeanors ("He frolicked on the Eggs/for the birthday cake./He licked up the Frosting,/ for goodness sake./Shoo fly!/Shoo fly!/Shooo"). Having troubled the entire household and "lit on the List" of groceries (all of which turn up elsewhere), the fly "Zzzz"'s onto a table where he comes to a just end: the baby drops the cake on him. Aylesworth's buoyant, rhythmic verse provides inspiration for a wondrous evolution of Gammell's style. Framing the book in dramatic fly-black endpapers, he intensifies his trademark rainbow colors, laying them on a white ground in vibrant clouds, flinging them in ebullient splatters signifying the mess and confusion in the fly's wake, and counterpointing the impressionistic setting with precisely observed characters and details: an outraged cat, Gramma's wizened face, the hairy, red-eyed culprit. Sheer delight for eyes, ears, and funny-bones. (Picture book. 3+)