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Comment: VERY GOOD condition ex-library copy. Plastic and exterior stickers/markings have been removed; a few internal library markings remain. Dust jacket in excellent condition, binding tight, pages crisp and clean. Ships from Amazon same day as cleared payment! Amazon customer service and money back guarantee!
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Old Black Fly Hardcover – April 15, 1992


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Hardcover, April 15, 1992
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2
  • Lexile Measure: 400L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); Library Binding edition (April 15, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805014012
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805014013
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 9.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #983,333 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Aylesworth and Gammell wing their way through the alphabet on the back of a pesky housefly in this ebullient picture-book romp. On a summer day, old black fly "bothered the baby," "coughed on the cookies" and "drove the dog nearly out of his wits," as family members attempt to "Shoo fly! / Shoo fly! Shooo." The persistent pest leaves a messy trail of near disasters until finally meeting up with the wrong end of a swatter. Ayleworth's snappy couplets constitute a waggish presentation of a basic concept. A brightly colored first letter highlights one word on each page that corresponds to the objects and action found in the illustration. Gammell's paintings are exuberant splashes of mayhem--rainbows of splattered hues from which truly memorable characters emerge. His appropriately bug-eyed (and cross-eyed) fly and gap-toothed humans sporting crazy hairdos provide a level of dementia that children will relish. Ages 4-7.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 3-- A pesky fly turns a household inside out in this rollicking tale. ``He ate on the crust of the A pple pie./He bothered the B aby and made her cry./ Shoo fly! Shoo fly! Shooo.'' This fly is on an alphabetical rampage through the house, leaving destruction in his wake as he flits from the C ookie to the D og to the E ggs to the F rosting, and so on to a final, satisfying ``Swat!'' Aylesworth's funny, rhythmic chant is strong enough to stand alone. Add Gammell's spattery, jumpy illustrations, splashed with color, alive with movement, line, and humor, and what emerges is a book that's sure to become a classic. To be enjoyed at home as a lapbook, to be read aloud with relish at story times, to be chanted again and again and again! --Gail C. Ross, Baltimore County Public Library
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
5 star
27
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See all 35 customer reviews
This book is so much for kids and adults!
Alicia Carpenter
I found the illustrations wildly creative and it's fun to look at the watercolor colors and chaotic energy.
VW Smith
And best of all they learned all of their letters and corresponding sounds!
Pamela M. Primrose

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By KMarshall on September 4, 2000
Format: Board book
This book is just plain fun to read -- over and over again! It was one of the first books that my toddler would actually sit and listen to, and now at 18 months he's an active participant -- searching for the old black fly on each page and giving him a playful SWAT! I definitely recommend purchasing this book in hardcover, as the soft binding is simply no match for its popularity.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By L. Swain on September 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I think the most wonderful part of this book (in response to a 2 star review) is that, after reading it, you feel like there are "fly germs everywhere!" When we read this aloud in my preschool class, the kids loved pointing out the yucky stuff on every page and when I banged the book shut to "squash" the fly and quietly opened up the book, hysterical giggles abounded. This book is great for eliciting student participation (repetition in "Shoo fly...") and for developing inference abilities at a VERY early age ("What do you think happened to the fly?" after I slam the book shut).

Whether you happen to "like" the words, flow, or illustrations, in my experience, young children do and gain a lot of out reading this book together.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 15, 1999
Format: Hardcover
We are a kindergarten class, and we loved this book. We especially liked when Old Black Fly gets swatted at the end of the story. We liked when we could read along with "shoo fly, shoo fly, shoo!" The pictures were funny too.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. Carole on June 6, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This has been my daughter's favorite book since she was six months old. We read it "Motown Style" with lots of back beat. The rhythm is great and now, at ten months, she spends time looking at the pictures -- looking for the bad old fly, the baby, the cat and the dog. Even when I forgot the book on a trip, I was able to use the rhyme (and alphabet) to make up my own story about Old Black Fly. Buy it, you'll love it!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ann M. Huebner on August 15, 2000
Format: Board book
This is one of my favorite alphabet books. I am crazy for the splotchy, unsentimental illustrations. Check out the pucker-faced grandma, the piano-legged sister, and the befuddled haystack of a dog. (If you like them, you might also want to check out WILL'S MAMMOTH by Rafe Martin. Stephen Gammell illustrated it too. Good stuff.) I am also crazy for the ending. Who knew an alphabet book could have a really clever ending? My son (almost three) loves this book as much as I do. We read it over and over again. One note of caution: Even though this is an alphabet book, it's probably not the first alphabet book you want to buy your child. The letters are embedded in the text, and the text and illustrations are far too distracting for this book to be used to actually teach the alphabet. As a reinforcement, however, this book can't be beat.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dwain Preston on November 21, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I teach high school, but I am also a storyteller, and I gobefore a lot of elementary-age kids. "Old Black Fly" is agreat book to do with them. They like the alphabetizing, the color, the great pictures by Stephen Gammell, and, especially, the repetition of "Shoo fly! Shoo fly! Shoo!" (A lot like the old folk song, "Shoo, Fly! Don't Bother Me!"). This book is a keeper, and if your kids or grandkids don't have it in their library, shame on you! Get it for them--TODAY!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By mrgrinch09 on June 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This funny alphabet book about a pesky fly is a great story all by itself. However when you add Stephen Gammell's illustrations you get an instant classic in the area of children's books.

Stephen Gammell's illustrations are pure artistic genius.

Every child that I've read this story to have loved it.

Apparently, it's only uptight, stick up their butt adults that don't like this book!!!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Robert Schulties on October 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I first found this book in the library with my daughter and I've continued the tradition with my son (in fact, I bought this book for a friend and only go to library with children to read it).

With wacky pictures and sing-song text, we follow the adventures of a bothersome fly until he meets his doom with a properly placed whack.

If you can find the rhythm in the words, you can work up a nice flow and even have your child(ren) participate as there's a part that's just great for kids to say outloud. So, while it's a great listen for kids, they can be in on the reading, too. Even if they can't read yet.
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