Cover image for Three wise old women
Three wise old women
Corbett, Elizabeth T.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Dutton Children's Books, [2004]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 27 cm
When they set out on a walk on a windy day, three silly women let their imaginary worries get the better of them.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 1.9 0.5 77098.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PZ8.3.C815 TH 2004 Juvenile Non-Fiction Childrens Area

On Order



Nonsensical appeal and vibrant illustrations will lead young readers right into this picture book in rhyme. The poem about three silly ladies provides illustrator Yu-Mei Han a rollicking chance to show off her style, reminiscent of the earthy characters of Margot Zemach. Uproarious escapades unfold in maxed-out color as the wise women’s wits run away from them, leading them on a fantastic journey over land, sea, and sky—until at last they find themselves happily back at home.The read-aloud rhyme about the three wacky wanderers offers not a whit of wisdom, but giggles galore.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

PreS-Gr. 2. Corbett's ninteenth-century nonsense rhyme is lovingly interpreted by Yu-Mei Han, who infuses the tongue-in-cheek poem with the same lively, colorful style she used in Round Is a Pancake (2001). The rollicking text about a simple outing that turns into a wild adventure is matched by illustrations that dance and swirl. The title page sets the pace, as the words curl around the three women who seem about to roll down a hill in their hurry to enjoy themselves. Charging across the countryside with a ladder and a fan, they become lost and frightened at the thought of meeting a bear. They climb the ladder, but alas, the wind picks it up and takes them out to sea. The tale gets sillier as the not-so-wise women bale water from the ladder and are blown away again with the fan. Children will feel wiser than the characters--and the narrator--as they can see in the illustrations what will happen next. --Louise Brueggeman Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

There are three of them, and they're elderly and female, but they're certainly not wise-and therein lies the fun of this nonsense rhyme by Corbett, a 19th-century poet. The trio sets off for a walk-"One carried a basket to hold some berries,/ One carried a ladder to climb for cherries,/ the third, and she was the wisest one,/ Carried a fan to keep off the sun." Spooked by some ursine-shaped clouds (as Han interprets it, at any rate), the women fear that they might be pursued by a ravenous bear, attempt a silly escape atop a pile of rocks and succeed in getting blown out to sea: "And every time the waves rolled in,/ Of course the poor things were wet to the skin." With a lot of luck and a smidgen of goofy ingenuity, however, they end up safely back at home, in Han's spirited spreads if not in Corbett's open-ended poem. The artist revels in portraying the women's Wagnerian emotions, their zaftig figures and their slapstick responses to the comic calamity (pantaloons can be glimpsed on more than one occasion). Undulating shapes and striations of high-octane color define the fanciful landscape, echoing the singsong meter of the rhyme. Ages 3-up. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 2-The text for this book comes from a nonsense poem written by Corbett in the late 19th century. Three not-so-wise ladies go for a walk, lose their way, become frightened at the prospect of meeting bears, and attempt to sail home using a ladder as a raft and a feather fan as a sail. The poem is mildly amusing, but not laugh-out-loud funny. Han's illustrations are relentless in their intensity. The characters-women, farm animals, and bears-are either grinning so broadly their faces would hurt, or sobbing wildly. The colors of the landscape are unnaturally bright and vivid, and the constant swirling lines that make it seem as if even stationary objects are on the go have a dizzying effect. Libraries owning Jack Prelutsky's Scranimals (Greenwillow, 2002) or Jane Yolen's Animal Fare (Harcourt, 1994; o.p.) already have better nonsense choices to offer.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.