There Was An Old Sailor cover art

There Was An Old Sailor

by Claire Saxby & Cassandra Allen

This playful, rhyming picture book offers a fresh and fun new take on the song “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly.” In Claire Saxby’s telling, a white-bearded, big-bellied sailor sets things in motion by swallowing a krill. He then goes on to swallow progressively larger sea creatures, each meant to catch the preceding one. Every new introduction is followed by a retelling of all the previously eaten animals, and “I don’t know why he swallowed the krill—It’ll make him ill.” The sailor’s tale finally ends when he swallows a whale, “then with a burp…set sail.” The burp allows all the other creatures to be released out of his mouth and back into the sea, presenting the surprise of a happier ending for the sailor than for the old lady in the song.

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