There Was a Bold Lady Who Wanted a Star

Overview

In this funny, clever adaptation of the classic song, "There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly," Charise Mericle Harper takes readers on a wacky journey as a feisty, bold lady tries everything from skates, to a bike, to a car, and finally, a rocket to reach a star. This fresh take on a familiar favorite will have readers laughing at the new verses and poring over the witty details in the illustrations.

Author Biography: Charise Mericle Harper...

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Overview

In this funny, clever adaptation of the classic song, "There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly," Charise Mericle Harper takes readers on a wacky journey as a feisty, bold lady tries everything from skates, to a bike, to a car, and finally, a rocket to reach a star. This fresh take on a familiar favorite will have readers laughing at the new verses and poring over the witty details in the illustrations.

Author Biography: Charise Mericle Harper lives in Chicago, Illinois. This is her third book for children.

In this variation on the traditional cumulative rhyme, a feisty woman tries roller skates, a bicycle, and even a rocket to reach a star.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this folksy revision of "I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly," an auburn-haired woman in a calico dress looks out her window at a yellow, five-pointed star while her son sleeps under a patterned quilt. The lady fetches some running shoes and roller skates ("She bought the skates to replace the shoes./ She bought the shoes to catch the star./ I don't know why she wanted a star-/ it seemed too far"). She next acquires a car, a plane and a "big rocket,/ then zoomed up and caught the star in her pocket." Using all her modes of transportation in reverse order, she returns to the farmhouse and affectionately presents her son with the star "in a jar. (So it wasn't too far!)" Harper (Imaginative Inventions) populates whimsical land- and cityscapes with fanciful bugs, birds and animals. The bold lady buys a bike from a small pink squirrel, then cycles through a flowery forest; she gets a car from a speckled snake and cruises past quirky shops. For each reiteration of the sequence, Harper provides a rebus alongside her key words. Delicate stippled dots and understated spirals decorate every available surface. These attentive folk-art touches complement the spry singalong verse, while suggesting the heights that love might reach. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-Yet another variation on the familiar English folk song. This time the protagonist is a feisty, "bold" lady who wanted a star. "I don't know why she wanted a star-it seemed too far." She buys running shoes from a funny-looking caterpillar salesman and runs for miles before stopping for a snooze. Then she buys skates to replace the shoes, a bike to replace the skates, a car to replace the bikes, and on and on until she acquires a rocket to zoom off to catch the star. The imaginative and inventive retelling maintains the rhyme of the original except for a slight change at the end. Acrylic cartoons in bright colors lend a zany feel to this bold lady who lets nothing get in the way of reaching her star, which she puts in a jar ("So it wasn't so far!"). An action-packed read-aloud.-Leslie Barban, Richland County Public Library, Columbia, SC Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
And bold she is in this spin-off of the favorite song. This bold lady wanted a star. "I don’t know why she wanted a star—it seemed too far." So begins the sequence as the bold lady buys different forms of transport to reach the star in the sky: shoes, skates, bike, car, plane, and finally a big rocket in which she zooms up and catches the star. The big question, of course, is why does she want the star and what will she do with it? The text answer is to "put in a jar" as the illustrations show the bold lady handing the star in the jar to a child in bed. "(So it wasn’t so far!)" The ending lacks luster after the outrageousness of the spin. Bugs and animals populate all the scenes and a clever touch is the assorted creatures that sell the items—e.g., a 14-legged caterpillar sells the shoes, a pink snake the car. The repetitive pattern and cumulative effect follow that of the original and the jaunty illustration style fits the tale. The acrylic paintings on chipboard with collage are reminiscent of Simms Taback in palette, composition, and line. Now if the ending just had more punch. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316146739
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 9/1/2002
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.32 (w) x 10.32 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Charise Harper

Charise Mericle Harper is the author and illustrator of many books for children, including the Just Grace series. In a starred review, Booklist called Just Grace "hilarious" and said, "The kids come alive in the story, and Harper enhances the comical goings-on with sparkling cartoon sketches. Give this to . . . anyone looking for a funny book." Charise lives in New York City.

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