This fisherman’s adaptation doesn’t add much to the original.



A fishing version of the classic song “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly” has readers wondering, “Perhaps she’ll sink.”

Beginning with a skink, the plump old white woman with the red cheeks and bluish-gray hair, tiny red hat perched on her round head, proceeds to eat a worm, a bobber, some fishing line, a fishing pole, a pail, a net, an oar, and a boat. This last makes her float in fact, though it doesn’t allow her to avoid the fate hinted at in the repetitive phrasing: one last snack does her in. Aside from the final page and big reveal, the list of items is repeated on each new spread, allowing for audience participation, though the rhythm and rhyme sometimes falter: “There was an old lady who gobbled a bobber. / That bobbled and wobbled and caused her to slobber.” From the visible linework, Bermejo’s cartoon illustrations appear to be colored pencil. Starting with spare pictures on white backgrounds, the artwork gradually becomes more detailed as the story moves closer to the dockside ending. While she does get a bit red in the face, looks like she might throw up, and sweats a bit, the old woman never otherwise visibly changes as a result of the items she eats, making this version a bit less gruesome than others. Children familiar with sport fishing will wonder how the skink enters the picture; all the other items she swallows are related to fishing and boating, but the skink appears to have been chosen just because it sounds funny.

This fisherman’s adaptation doesn’t add much to the original. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-63220-428-8

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

While there are many rhyming truck books out there, this stands out for being a collection of poems.


Rhyming poems introduce children to anthropomorphized trucks of all sorts, as well as the jobs that they do.

Adorable multiethnic children are the drivers of these 16 trucks—from construction equipment to city trucks, rescue vehicles and a semi—easily standing in for readers, a point made very clear on the final spread. Varying rhyme schemes and poem lengths help keep readers’ attention. For the most part, the rhymes and rhythms work, as in this, from “Cement Mixer”: “No time to wait; / he can’t sit still. / He has to beg your pardon. / For if he dawdles on the way, / his slushy load will harden.” Slonim’s trucks each sport an expressive pair of eyes, but the anthropomorphism stops there, at least in the pictures—Vestergaard sometimes takes it too far, as in “Bulldozer”: “He’s not a bully, either, / although he’s big and tough. / He waits his turn, plays well with friends, / and pushes just enough.” A few trucks’ jobs get short shrift, to mixed effect: “Skid-Steer Loader” focuses on how this truck moves without the typical steering wheel, but “Semi” runs with a royalty analogy and fails to truly impart any knowledge. The acrylic-and-charcoal artwork, set against white backgrounds, keeps the focus on the trucks and the jobs they are doing.

While there are many rhyming truck books out there, this stands out for being a collection of poems. (Picture book/poetry. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5078-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 29, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A sprightly and charming modern take on a traditional rhyme.


This adaptation of a traditional English nursery rhyme features a contemporary setting, dialogue, and a small twist.

Three anthropomorphized kittens wearing conspicuous, colorful mittens (but no other clothing) are seen outside a cozy suburban house, skateboarding, playing ball, and skipping rope. A sweet scent wafts from an open window, through which a smiling cat in a dotted apron can be seen removing a pie from the oven. In their race to the door the kittens lose their mittens, of course, and the story unfolds from there. In some cases, the rhymes appear in dialogue balloons, at other times as part of the main text, both of which also include additional, original lines. Unexpected interjections add humor, as when the kittens react to the mess they’ve made by eating blueberry pie while wearing mittens: “ ‘Ooops!’ ‘Eeew!’ ‘Gross!’ ” Created with pencil, watercolor, and gouache, McClintock’s feline portraits pack plenty of personality. Big-footed and slightly round-bellied, the variously colored kittens have big eyes and sweet smiles. Mother, meanwhile, is slim and sleek, with extremely expressive whiskers. The setting is simply presented, limited to the outside of the house, inside the kitchen, and at the table. At times the characters appear against blank, softly colored backgrounds. Alternating double-page spreads, single pages, and occasional panels add interest and move the action along smoothly. Sharp-eyed listeners may notice an additional character whose presence is acknowledged in the cheerful conclusion.

A sprightly and charming modern take on a traditional rhyme. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-12587-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet