Cover image for The old man and the flea
The old man and the flea
Hanson, Mary Elizabeth.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Flagstaff, Ariz. : Northland Pub., 2001.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 28 cm
An old man and his pet flea have wonderful times together until the townspeople think he is talking to himself.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.5 0.5 46153.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

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An elderly gent goes shopping for a pet

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Hanson's (Snug) offbeat, slightly slapstick tale centers on an elderly fellow who goes shopping for a pet to keep him company. Though he finds fault with a dog, cat and parrot, the pet store proprietor makes a sale when she shows him a far less traditional pet: a purple "pedigreed flea" who sports a yellow hair bow and sleeps in a silk-lined matchbox. Debut children's illustrator Merrell's fittingly funky watercolor and pastel art is at its best when serving up some comical images of this diminutive pet: a view of her sitting on top of a piece of popcorn in a movie theater, 3-D glasses perched on her nose, and wearing a yellow swimsuit and sunglasses as she suns herself on a beach towel. The two have a grand time together until townspeople, unable to see the tiny flea, assume the old man is talking to himself, and the mayor calls paramedics to take him to the hospital. Unbeknownst to the man, the flea also climbs aboard the ambulance and manages to unlock the door to her owner's hospital room so that the two can escape. Hanson pulls out a suitably silly ending to this caper, which may raise some eyebrows for its rather frivolous, offhand treatment of perceived dementia. But the hyperbolic portrayal of the characters here keeps this in the vein of lighthearted fun. Ages 5-8. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3-An old man who "had lived alone for so long, nobody would have ever believed that one day he might go shopping for a pet" decides he wants an animal that doesn't bark too much like a dog or scratch furniture like a cat or eat too many peanuts like a parrot. The solution-a pedigreed flea. "She sleeps in a matchbox, hates fur, and never bites people." When the old man begins talking to his new pet, people in town become convinced he is crazy and have him hospitalized. This flea is strong though, and she manages to open the door to his room, and the two escape. Merrell's bright, rounded illustrations, reminiscent of the work of Mark Teague or Mark Buehner, are made to match a humorous story, but when paired with this outrageously silly tale, they just fall flat. For a meaningful tale of tolerance and friendship of things unseen by others, stay with Dr. Seuss's Horton Hears a Who (Random, 1954).-Kathleen Whalin, York Public Library, ME (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.