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There Was an Old Pirate Who Swallowed a Fish Hardcover – September 18, 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 128 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Ahoy there, me hearties! This is a fun new take on “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly.” The colorful and zany cartoon art does a phenomenal job of capturing the absurdity and hilarity of this outrageous spin-off. A harum-scarum old pirate encounters misfortune at sea as he ingests one unpalatable item after another. From a whole fish to a chest of gold to a large ship, these unappetizing items lead to the untimely demise of this sea-worn picaroon. The text is engaging and melodic. Boys and girls alike will love to sing each comical new verse. Anticipation builds as each item introduced grows larger and larger and children eagerly await the dramatic ending. The digitally created illustrations are boldly colorful and delightful. Children will linger on each page, not wanting to miss any details. Although many collections contain numerous versions of this tale, this one is modern and highly appealing. The cumulative and repetitive nature of the story is great for actively involving the youngest readers/listeners.–School Library Journal

About the Author

Jennifer Ward is the author of numerous acclaimed books for children, including The Busy Tree, There Was an Old Monkey Who Swallowed a Frog, and There Was an Odd Princess Who Swallowed a Pea. Her books have received such honors as the Giverny Award for Best Children's Science Picture Book, the Growing Young Readers' Book Award, the American Booksellers Association "Book Sense Pick of the Lists", a Learning Magazine Teachers' Choice Award for Best Children's Picture Book, a Parents' Choice Award, a Governor's First Grade Book Selection for the states of New Jersey and Arizona, a Barnes & Noble Author of the Month two years in a row, and a Grand Canyon Reader's Award winner and honors recipient, among others. A former educator, Jennifer now writes full time from her home in the Midwest. Learn more: www.jenniferwardbooks.com

Steve Gray is the illustrator of There Was a Coyote Who Swallowed a Flea, There Was an Old Monkey Who Swallowed a Frog, and There Was an Old Pirate Who Swallowed a Fish, written by Jennifer Ward, as well as Farmer McPeepers and His Missing Milk Cows by Katy Duffield. His six-minute animated short film, Santa’s Camels, has been shown in more than sixty film festivals around the world. He lives in Redondo Beach, California. Learn more: www.stevegrayillustration.com

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Lexile Measure: AD210L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Two Lions; First Edition edition (September 18, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761461965
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761461968
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 0.5 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (128 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,351 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Herschel Greenberg VINE VOICE on December 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As others have pointed out, this is a twist on the little old lady poem from my childhood. I got this for my son. Of course, this new version removes any notion that somebody dies (it is amazing how violent some original children rhymes once were).

Each verse escalates the object the pirate eats, ending with an entire pirate ship. The rhyme is catchy--so much so, that my 3 year old son knows most of the words already.

The art is fun. We especially like the bird and the fish that are inside the pirate's belly. They are the best part of the story and art style. Each time the pirate swallows something, the bird and fish scene changes to incorporate that new object. It gets pretty funny by the end.

Overall, we judge a book's success by the number of times my son requests we read it to him. One night, we had to read it 5 times. That makes it a very successful book!
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Avast there reader! I'm holdin' in me digits a piece o' book treasure. It be written by a woman callin' erself Jennifer Ward. I ain't much fer books, but that woman uses the King's English effectual like. Like a captin steerin a galleon through rough seas.

I'm liking those purrty pictures on the pages so much that I'm hooked like a sea bass on a line. If I got you pegged, I'm thinking' you lubbers might be wantin a look at this book yourselves. Read it twice, and you'll be doubloon your fun. That sounds smart as paint, don't it?

I'm a might particular about reading books for little deck hands. To be a member of my crew, the book has to be fun and has to have rhyme. Repetition be a requirement too, like barrels of rum on a long voyage. And it can't be containin' those long dictionary words that only those swabs with lots of book learnin' can make sense of. But mostly to map my way from port to port, it needs a hand expert at sketchin, with waves of color and size.
AAAAART makes the book sail.

"There Was and Old Pirate Who Swallowed a Fish" is one of those rare children's books that does it all for me. It's got rhyme, fun, silliness, repetition, big colorful pages, and aaaart so good your eyes will pop out of their sockets like the eyes of the pirate you'll meet in this book.

Obviously I like this book. A LOT! The only change I'd make would be to write the word "AYE" on one of the pirate's eyes. Every pirate needs an aye patch, you know.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a fun twist on the story "There was an old lady." The illustrations are vivid, with rich, deep colors, and the reactions of the sidekick fish and bird (whom he swallows first)are funny throughout. The story is fun to sing aloud, especially if you speed up as you go. This is definitely a "read it again!!!" type of book.

The pirate's shirt seems to get smaller and smaller as his stomach gets larger and larger. Details such as this are signs of a good match between author and illustrator. Five stars!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book for my two kids, 3 and 5 years old. It's now their absolute favorite. The book starts with a rhyme and then builds on it; I read it in a sing-song voice and the kids finish the rhyme with the last two lines that remain the same through the book - THEY LOVE IT!! (So with every couple of pages, the story gets repeated with another line added and my kids finish with "YO, HO HO! (and the rest of the rhyme)". My husband and I love it, too - it ends up being such a fun thing we do together. The artwork is amazing, although as another reader said, it's probably too gorgeous for young kids to admire. But my husband and I love it and the kids will appreciate it in time. I'm about to order other books by this author.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
A twist on The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly--this old pirate is swallowing pirate-related items, each more ridiculous than the one before as he progress from fish to treasure chests, and eventually to a sail and an entire ship. The pirate jargon is great: "Yo ho ho! Watch his belly grow!" and the illustrations are colorful and fun. The only thing that didn't quite work for me was that unlike the Old Lady version where after the fly, she actually has a reason for the successive items she swallows--there is no reasoning in this book, so the reader never really knows why the pirate is swallowing all of these weird items. In fact, the fish is the only reasonable thing that he does swallow and that's the one that the author says "Why did he swallow it? I don't know."

Anyway--despite that I think that this book is a fun choice that will especially appeal to boys and I will be adding it to my elementary school library.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was a kindle daily deal and I couldn't pass it up. My son loves goofy little stories and this was no exception. Of course you probably know the old Rhyme/song, There was an old lady who swallowed a fly. This is similar but you can't read it to the same tune.

This book is just goofy, and completely ridiculous but still a fun little read. It is just amazing what this pirate swallows though the course of the book. I won't spoil the surprise for anyone who wants to give it a read.

I gave this three stars because my son loved it and I had a good time reading it to him. I read different parts in different funny voices that cause both my son and my wife to laugh out loud while I read. The story is a bit dull but then again, I'm an adult reviewing a kids book. Lets just say this is no Curious George. The book itself is more like a 2 start review, but we had fun and it was worth the .99$ I paid for it. So three stars it is.
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