Colandro, Lucille. There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat. Illustrated by Jared Lee. New York: Scholastic, 2005.
Last year a stroll through Barnes and Noble provided me with the wonderful Madeleine parody, Frankenstein: A Monstrous Parody. This year a stroll through the book section at Target brought me this little jewel. I had to have it for my book collection.
I loved the original story, I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly. It is fun, but a little creepy to sing, as it begins and ends with something unexpected.
First line: I know an old lady, who swallowed a fly. I don’t know why she swallowed a fly. I guess she’ll die.
Last line: I know an old lady, who swallowed a horse. She’s dead, of course!
If you need to reacquaint yourself with this little ditty, you can listen to Judy Collins sing it for Kermit the Frog on YouTube: https://youtu.be/qC_xO2aN_IA. It is fun, but a little gruesome.
This book caught my attention as it is a version of that rather gruesome story and it is illustrated by one of my favorites, Jared Lee. I wondered, if this parody was a creepy as it base story. It is after all, a Halloween story. It is not quite as creepy, but just as eerily delightful.
There is no mystery here, you know how the book begins, “I know an old lady, who swallowed a bat! I don’t know why she swallowed a bat. Imagine that.” Before I opened the book past the first page, I speculated on what she might have swallowed to catch that bat. Here’s my next line.
I know an old lady, who swallowed a cat. Imagine that to swallow a cat. She swallowed the cat to catch the bat that flitted and darted and flapped inside her. I don’t know why she swallowed the bat. Imagine that!
It is no wonder I am not a children’s book author. Still speculation is fun. In this case she swallowed an owl and the old lady began to howl. The book goes on to rhyme through cat, ghost, goblin, bones, and wizard. It is a treat to see her eat her way through this silly book. Do you think it will end in her demise? Pick up a copy and read and sing it to the next group of “Trick or Treaters” that come to your door. Will they appreciate this silly trick before they get their treat? Listen to Judy’s version, drag out your guitar, and serenade your neighborhood friends with this interesting little ditty.