Saturday 5 April 2014

There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Meerkat

There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Meerkat by P. Crumble, illustrated by Louis Shea (Scholastic Australia)
PB RRP $13.99
ISBN 978-1-74283-646-1
Reviewed by Jenny Heslop

‘There was an old lady who swallowed a meerkat,
I don’t know why she swallowed that meerkat ...
Fancy that!’

From the creators of There was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Mozzie comes another addition to the There was An Old Lady/There was an old Bloke series and this time the hungry woman is visiting the zoo. The rhyme in this story works really well making it fun and easy to read aloud and the rhythm aids in creating a crescendo effect. Crumble has chosen animals which young children will know well from their own visits to the zoo. The familiar setting makes the absurdity of the situation even more pronounced. As the animals the Old Lady swallows get bigger and bigger the sense of ridiculousness builds to a fantastic explosive ending.

Shea’s illustrations in this series can be either fabulous or terrifying. In this picture book they are fabulous. The animals are chock full of their own character and the detail in the pictures will keep children thoroughly entertained. The illustration of the Old Lady leaving the zoo after the seams in her clothes have let go ends the story brilliantly. Look out for the ‘Do Not Feed ...’ signs and the hungry monkey who follows the Old Lady around. The zoo animals and setting will make this story a hit for young children and with amusing details to spot in every scene they will be pouring over the pictures as well as reciting the rhyme.

I found this to be the funniest and most entertaining book in the series this far.

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