The off the wall story of “There Was an old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly” is not new by any stretch of the imagination, but illustrator Simms Taback truly gives this story a new look in his Caldecott Medal winning version of the old classic folk story. In Taback’s version, the old lady so named in the title is so wide eyed and crazy looking that you wouldn’t have a problem believing that she would try to swallow a fly or any of the other creatures of increasing size.
In this brilliant and vividly colored picture books edition of “There Was an old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly”, the illustrator creatively uses die cuts to first reveal what the old lady has already swallowed and then with the turn of a page, the reader finds out what is next to be ingested. While it is a disgusting thought for adults, “There Was an old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly” still holds a particular fascination for the children for whom it was intended in the first place.
The man behind the book has more than thirty other childrens books illustrations to his credit. Having also worked as a designer for both CBS Records and The New York Times, Simms Taback – who was born in 1932 – was also president of the Illustrators’ Guild as well as teaching art at the Syracuse University. He has another Caldecott Medal in his case for his work on “Joseph Had a Little Overcoat”.