Cover image for I know an old lady who swallowed a fly
I know an old lady who swallowed a fly
Rounds, Glen, 1906-2002, illustrator.
Uniform Title:
Little old lady who swallowed a fly.
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Holiday House, [1990]

Physical Description:
32 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ; 24 x 26 cm
A cumulative folk song in which the solution proves worse than the predicament when an old lady swallows a fly.
General Note:
"Reprinted from Hoosier folklore, vol. VI, no. 4 (December 1947)."

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PZ8.3.R78 IAF 1990 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PZ8.3.R78 IAF 1990 Juvenile Fiction Fairy Tales

On Order



Children will have fun looking at Glen Rounds' tongue-in-cheek drawings in this popular chant about an old lady who swallows a fly, spider, bird, cat, dog, goat, and horse!

Author Notes

Rounds, who was born in 1906 in a sod house near Wall, South Dakota, and moved to Montana one year later in a covered wagon. He wrote dozens of tall tales and realistic books about rural America, especially North Carolina, where he lived, and Montana, where he was brought up.

Rounds first book, Ol' Paul, the Mighty Logger, was published in 1936 by Holiday. He won the AAUW Award in 1983 for Wild Appaloosa. The AAUW Award was created in 1953 to honor North Carolinan children's authors.Rounds died in Pinehurst, NC, September 27, 2002, after a long illness. He was 96.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Against abundant white backgrounds, bold illustrations portray the characters and goofy activity of the popular folk song. Ages 4-8. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

If a picture book were to be thought of as a short play, then the casting director for this book did a splendid job in this Hoosier variant of a familiar American folk song. However, the potential of these artfully conceived characters is, in part, wasted because this play appears to lack a director. The actors pose on blank white backgrounds generally staring with empty eyes, as if awaiting their fate. There are plenty of opportunities for the characters to act and react, but Rounds has not, in the main, chosen to explore them. The result is a lack of flow in the illustrations. The illustrations do artfully project Rounds' blackly humorous vision of the seedy, alienated inhabitants of this cumulative tale. With admirable sureness of line, he sketches his outlandish characters using bold black marker. He colors them with pastel crayon, creating a pleasing scrabble of ochre, earth tones, brick red, and denim blue. The wonderfully graphic fly who appears as an observer on every spread is one of the few elements that provides clear continuity from illustration to illustration. The ``scrapbook'' approach, which worked so effectively in Old MacDonald Had a Farm (Holiday, 1989), falls short here because it is not sufficiently dramatic for this cumulative tale which must build toward its well-known punch line. In spite of this rendition's limitations, the clean, simple layouts and the oversized bold typeface will attract young readers looking for an easy-to-read picture book. In addition, the amusing language play provided by the song and the offbeat humor of the drawings will make it a good bet for kindergarten and first-grade story hours. --Carey Ayres, Port Washington Public Library, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.