Cover image for There was an old lady who swallowed a trout
There was an old lady who swallowed a trout
Sloat, Teri.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : H. Holt, [1998]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 26 cm
Set on the coast of the Pacific Northwest, this variation on the traditional cumulative rhyme describes the silly consequences of an old woman's fishy diet.
Reading Level:
NP Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.1 0.5 65142.

Reading Counts RC K-2 1.8 1 Quiz: 14472 Guided reading level: J.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Childrens Area-Picture Books
Eggertsville-Snyder Library PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Elma Library PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Grand Island Library PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Hamburg Library PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Orchard Park Library PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Williamsville Library PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Audubon Library PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



Everyone has heard of the old lady who swallowed a fly, but there is something particularly fishy about this old lady...

Eye-popping paintings capture the scenery and wildlife of the Pacific Northwest in this energetic recasting of a favorite children's rhyme. The buoyant text bobs along as the old lady swallows a salmon, an otter, a seal, a walrus ... until eventually she swallows the entire sea and the trout swims free! This pure flight of fancy gives a fresh twist to a familiar song.

Author Notes

Teri Sloat grew up in Salem, in the Willamette Valley where berry crops are grown. As a child, as soon as school was out for the summer, Sloat went to work in the fields. Her and her friends picked berries from 5am until 4pm.

Sloat had planned on teaching art in high school. She met her husband in college and before they began teaching high school, they were given a chance to move to rural Alaska and teach elementary school in a small Yup'ik village at the mouth of the Yukon River. They lived and taught for 12 years on the Kuskokwim and Yukon Rivers in Yup'ik villages.

Sloat has been publishing books for children since 1989.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 2^-6. In an uproarious retelling of the popular cumulative rhyme, the setting is the Pacific Northwest, and the wild old lady swallows not a fly, a spider, and various farm animals, but a trout, a salmon, an otter, a seal ("She let out a squeal when she swallowed the seal"), a porpoise, a walrus, a whale ("From its tip to its tail, she swallowed that whale"), and, finally, the ocean ("What a commotion! She swallowed the ocean!"). The rhymes are funny, and the sounds of the words add to the silliness (the salmon "flippity-flippity-flopped as it swam in"). Ruffin's exuberantly colored double-page spreads combine folk art and farce with a kind of circular pattern that connects the old lady's huge, swelling stomach with the waves and mountains and creatures of her world, until she's like a red planet spinning around the earth. The ending is a delight, gentle and totally logical: she starts to wiggle and jiggle, "the swirling inside made her hiccup and giggle," she opens her mouth, and they all swim out. This is a joyful preschool read-aloud that will have even the shyest kids thrashing about with that trout and joining in. --Hazel Rochman

Publisher's Weekly Review

"Sloat sets the cumulative chestnut about the voracious old lady in the Pacific Northwest and endows her with an endless appetite for aquatic wildlife," wrote PW. "Ebullient paintings capture both the lyricism and cheery humor of the rhyme." Ages 3-7. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 2-"There was an old lady who swallowed a trout that splished and splashed and thrashed about. It wanted out!" So begins this cumulative rhyme based upon the tried-and-true nonsense verse "I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly." Sloat's version has a Pacific Northwest setting; a salmon, otter, seal, porpoise, walrus, whale, and an ocean are also consumed. The verse concludes with the woman opening her mouth, freeing the ocean and the various creatures she has ingested. Ruffins's colorful illustrations reflect both the zaniness of the rhyme and the coastal locale. The fact that the old lady survives her gastronomical ordeal might play better with sensitive members of the preschool set than the original version in which she perishes after downing a horse. While trying to rhyme porpoise with purpose seems forced, the verse as a whole will sound quite lyrical if read aloud. Storytellers may want to pair this with Simms Taback's There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly (Viking, 1997), a strikingly fresh version of the old standby.-Tom S. Hurlburt, La Crosse Public Library, WI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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