Old Man Who Loved Cheese


A homage to frommage from the beloved host of A Prairie Home Companion. Boy, does Wallace P. Flynn love cheese--especially slimy, smelly cheese! But when the stench finally drives his family and friends away, Wallace P. realizes that he has to choose between his loved ones and his penchant for putrid cheese. Full color.

Wallace P. Flynn loves smelly cheeses so much that his family leaves him, his dog and cats can't stand to be ...

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A homage to frommage from the beloved host of A Prairie Home Companion. Boy, does Wallace P. Flynn love cheese--especially slimy, smelly cheese! But when the stench finally drives his family and friends away, Wallace P. realizes that he has to choose between his loved ones and his penchant for putrid cheese. Full color.

Wallace P. Flynn loves smelly cheeses so much that his family leaves him, his dog and cats can't stand to be around him, and even the skunks have to move.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
"With a whiff of limburger and a touch of Lake Wobegon, Keillor serves up the story of a man so enamored of malodorous cheese that he is arrested for smelling up the neighborhood," said PW of this slapstick rhyme. All ages. (Sept.)
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
With a whiff of limburger and a touch of Lake Wobegon, humorist Keillor (Cat, You Better Come Home) serves up the story of Wallace P. Flynn, a man so enamored of smelly cheese that he is arrested by the Cheese Brigade of the Diet Patrol for smelling up the neighborhood. When brought to trial, Flynn is saved by the family that had long since deserted him; now his son persuasively pleads, "Why devote your life to cheese/ When you can have a grandbaby on your knees?" The moral? - "a person can choose/ To mend his ways and to begin/ A brand-new life,/ As Mr. Flynn did with his wife."

Wilsdorf's antic and lively drawings are a perfect accompaniment to a story peopled with eccentrics who shoot butterscotch custard and sticky buns out of cannons and relatives who run off to Arkansas ("which has a Halitosis Law"). The rhymes are unexpected and clever: "Guccis" with "blue cheese," "overseas" with "jujubes," and the hero declaims, "From now on, this shall be my goal: a/ Life of zero Gorgonzola." The slapstick comedy and outlandish plot notwithstanding, the inconsistent meter and constantly changing rhyme scheme sometimes sound like a weak imitation of Dr. Seuss. Still, Keillor's fans know that a book whose hero buys his best cheese at "Easy Ed's Used Cheese Market" will, like "a nice sharp cheddar/ [make them] feel a whole lot better!" All ages. (May)

Children's Literature - Leila Toledo
Glorifying an eating disorder and firing butterscotch custard, sticky buns, and lemon meringue at an old man is not the type of message we want to send to children. I don't even approve of egg-toss contests at picnics because that is food wasted. And, with the number of children who go to bed hungry, it just does not seem an appropriate topic. A boo that may appeal more to adults.
School Library Journal
(K-Gr 3) - A disappointing story about a man addicted to cheese - the smellier the better. His addiction causes his family to leave him, and he is finally arrested by the "cheese police" and brought to trial. His son returns to save him, showing him his new grandson and asking him to promise to give up cheese. All ends happily, except perhaps for the dairy industry, which could justifiably ask why mild cheeses are treated with the same opprobrium as the pungent varieties. Children may enjoy the grossness of Keillor's descriptions, but they aren't likely to relate to the protagonist and his wife, reunited and "...very deeply satisfied,/With sunny days and beautiful views,/A low-fat lunch and a daily snooze..." The rhyming text scans unevenly, making the book difficult to read aloud. The illustrations are lively and cartoonlike, reminiscent of Tomi Ungerer's work, especially in the crowd, police, and courtroom scenes, although without that artist's grotesque humor. There are numerous titles about food fixations, but most, like Mary Rayner's Mrs. Pig's Bulk Buy (Atheneum, 1981), come down on the side of moderation rather than total withdrawal. - Pam Gosner, Maplewood Memorial Library, NJ
Kirkus Reviews
From Keillor (Cat, You Better Come Home, 1995), another tale of gustatory excess and ultimate redemption. Wallace P. Flynn's fondness for cheese—the smellier the better—drives away his family, causes passing animals to faint, and at last forces the neighbors to call the Cheese Police. Flynn steadfastly refuses to forego the fromage—until his son, presenting a wife and child, offers an alluring alternative: "Why devote your life to cheese/When you can have a grandbaby on your knees?" Quitting the queso cold turkey, Flynn finds his wife in the Hebrides and settles down to a life of low-fat bliss.

The cheery cheesehead capers giddily through the energetically drawn and brushed watercolors of Wilsdorf (Princess, 1993), as comic expressions of dismay on surrounding people and animals change to pleased smiles after Flynn's reformation. Using, it seems, every conceivable rhyme scheme, Keillor sacrifices smoothness of reading and stretches the text a bit further than it needs to go, but his gift for Ogden Nash style rhymes will have readers rolling in the aisles: "From now on this shall be my goal: a/Life of zero Gorgonzola."

From Barnes & Noble
Wallace P. Flynn likes cheese--and the slimier, sloppier, gunkier, and lumpier, the better! But his fondness for putrid cheese soon gets him in trouble with his family, his neighbors, and, of course, the cheese brigade. Will Wallace ever learn to change his ways? Anne Wilsdorf's cheerful watercolors capture every hilarious detail of this outlandish story by popular novelist and public radio host Garrison Keillor. 8 1/2" x 11". Ages 5-8
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780737236545
  • Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
  • Publication date: 10/1/1998
  • Pages: 32

Meet the Author

Garrison Keillor
Garrison Keillor
First with his performances on Minnesota Public Radio's Prairie Home Companion and later in his books, Garrison Keillor has become a symbol of the small-town Midwest -- its absurdities, its stoutness, and its warmth. His popular, funny stories set in Lake Wobegon manage to evoke nostalgia for a town that never existed.


Garrison Keillor is the author of thirteen books, including Lake Wobegon Summer 1956, Wobegon Boy, and Lake Wobegon Days. From 1999-2001, Keillor wrote a column "Dear Mr. Blue: Advice for Lovers and Writers" on Salon.com. Keillor's popular Saturday-night public radio show, A Prairie Home Companion, is in its twenty-seventh season. He lives in St. Paul with his wife and daughter.

Author biography courtesy of Penguin Group (USA).

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    1. Also Known As:
      Gary Edward Keillor (real name)
      Garrison Keillor
    2. Hometown:
      St. Paul, Minnesota
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 7, 1942
    2. Place of Birth:
      Anoka, Minnesota
    1. Education:
      B.A., University of Minnesota, 1966

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