There Was an Old Monster!

There Was an Old Monster!

4.3 3
by Rebecca Emberley, Adrian Emberley

A brand-new monster twist--by a Caldecott medalist and his daughter!

There was an old monster who swallowed a tick
I don't know why he swallowed that tick
'Cause it made him feel sick!

When he swallowed some ants, he danced in his pants. He swallowed a lizard, a bat, a jackal, and a bear. Then he tried to swallow a lion . . . ROAR!--Now that monster is


A brand-new monster twist--by a Caldecott medalist and his daughter!

There was an old monster who swallowed a tick
I don't know why he swallowed that tick
'Cause it made him feel sick!

When he swallowed some ants, he danced in his pants. He swallowed a lizard, a bat, a jackal, and a bear. Then he tried to swallow a lion . . . ROAR!--Now that monster is no more! Children will laugh along with the funny text, bright bold illustrations, and delightful song (available on the Scholastic website).

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Another Emberley gets into the book-creating act with this takeoff on the cumulative song, “There Was an Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly,” which features jaunty rhymes yet an intermittently bumpy rhythm. Songwriter Adrian, Rebecca's daughter and Ed's granddaughter, collaborated on the music (the song will be available for download from Scholastic's Web site). The splotchy purple monster's initial snack—a tick—doesn't agree with him (“I don't know why/ he swallowed the tick/ 'cause it made him feel sick”), and the ants he ingests to catch the tick “had him dancing in his pants.” After downing a lizard, bat, jackal and bear, the monster feels “like he was dyin',” so he tries to swallow a lion—an attempt that doesn't end well. Stylized computer-scanned collage art amplifies the narrative's inanity, portraying the monster (and the accumulating contents of his belly) with electric hues against a black background. Timid readers may find the wild-eyed monster and sharp-toothed lion scary, but most will hone their sense of schadenfreude on the creature's exaggerated discomfort and find this creepy, crawly fun. Ages 3–5. (July)
Children's Literature - Sylvia Firth
Author/illustrator Ed Emberley is well known to all who are familiar with books for children. In this new approach to the old tale, I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, daughter Rebecca has written a new set of lyrics. Rebecca and Adrian composed the music. The website for downloading a free copy of the song is listed at the beginning of the book. On black and purple pages that use red and yellow type, the tale of a monster that swallowed a tick that makes him sick unfolds. Trying to feel better, he swallows a variety of creatures, including ants, a lizard, a bat, a jackal, a bear, and a lion. Of course, nothing helps, and the lion makes short work of the monster. The illustrations are wonderful, as they combine vivid colors and collage to create a large orange horned, bug eyed monster, fuchsia ants, and a sharp-toothed, purple-clawed lion that swallowed the whole menagerie. Youngsters will delight in participating in this rollicking adventure, whether at story hour or when singing along with the downloaded CD. Definitely add this delightful book to the collection. Reviewer: Sylvia Firth
School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 2

In a retelling of the classic cumulative tune "I Know an Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly," a googly-eyed purple monster consumes a panoply of colorful critters (ants, a tick, a lizard, a bat, a jackal, a bear) until he meets his match-and end-in a lion. The neon-bright artwork on jet black backgrounds pops off the pages as the monster and his wriggly comestibles whirl across the spreads. The Emberleys invite readers into the action by depicting the monster's ever-expanding stomach with its jam-packed contents in a ploy sure to elicit lots of delighted grimaces from children. Individual readers will pore over the illustrations and enjoy the repetition in the text while the large pictures make this a natural to share with groups. With the song provided as a free download at the publisher's Web site, this jazzy crowd-pleaser will have kids begging for repeat reads.-Marge Loch-Wouters, La Crosse Public Library, WI

Kirkus Reviews
Three generations collaborated to create this catchy spin on the storytime classic. This particular monster-a speckled purple critter with horns, claws and a natty green skirt positioned against a black background-swallows (ugh) a tick, quickly followed by ants ("scritchy-scratch, / scritch, scratchy scratch"), a lizard, a bat, a jackal ("I swear I heard him cackle") and a bear. The contents of the distressed monster's ever-expanding belly are visible throughout-no wonder "he STILL felt sick." Written by Rebecca Emberley, illustrated in eye-popping Technicolor by the author and her father, Ed Emberley, and set to music by the author's daughter, Adrian Emberley (available for download from Scholastic's website), this agreeably stomach-turning tune will doubtless see heavy storytime action. (Picture book. 3-6)

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.90(w) x 11.32(h) x 0.38(d)
AD670L (what's this?)
Age Range:
3 - 5 Years

Meet the Author

REBECCA EMBERLEY is a bestselling creator of many books for children, including THERE WAS AN OLD MONSTER, CHICKEN LITTLE, THE RED HEN, Piñata, and a series of bilingual English/Spanish books. She lives on the east coast, when not traveling the world, finding inspiration in even the smallest of places.

Adrian Emberley is a performing songwriter with The Adrian Emberley Band. Her musical style is a combination of pop, rock, jazz, and folk music. Adrian is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music and lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

ED EMBERLEY is the acclaimed author and illustrator of more than 75 books for children, including There Was an Old Monster, Chicken Little and Go Away, Big Green Monster! His numerous awards include a Caldecott Medal, Lewis Carroll Shelf Award, Caldecott Honor, and Art Books for Children Citation. He lives in Ipswich, Massachusetts.

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There Was an Old Monster! 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Gail_Moyer81 More than 1 year ago
I'm a preschool teacher, and every year my kids LOVE this book! They beg me read it almost every day!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
psj More than 1 year ago
My 3 year old loves monsters, so this re-telling of the classic "there was an old women" is perfect for him. It is funny and very colorful. The monster swallows differnet creatures the catch the last creature he swallowed until the last creature swallows him! First he swallows a tick. I don't know why he swallowed the tick because it made him sick. Then he swallowed some ants. It don't know why he swallowed those ants because they had him dancing in his pants. Then he preceeds to swallow different animals until he tries to swallow a lion that ends up swallowing him. You can also download the song to listen too. My son loves reading this book over and over again.