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Old Black Fly
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Old Black Fly

3.6 6
by Jim Aylesworth, Stephen Gammell (Illustrator)

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"Aylesworth's buoyant, rhythmic verse provides inspiration for a wondrous evolution of Gammell's style.... Sheer delight for eyes, ears, and funny-bones."
--Kirkus Reviews, pointer


"Aylesworth's buoyant, rhythmic verse provides inspiration for a wondrous evolution of Gammell's style.... Sheer delight for eyes, ears, and funny-bones."
--Kirkus Reviews, pointer

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble Staff
This boisterous rhyming alphabet book begs to be sung aloud. An old black fly buzzes around and gets into everything, from an Apple pie to mama's Yarn, until--splat!--this fly will Zzz no more! Stephen Gammell's messy illustrations swirl all over the page, just like a pesky fly.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
PW dubbed this rhythmic journey through the alphabet on the back of a pesky housefly an ``ebullient picture-book romp,'' lauding the ``waggish presentation of a basic concept.'' Ages 4-7. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
What makes a good picture book? The answer: Begin with something common like the problem of a pesky fly inside the house. Twist and turn it into a rhyme scheme with an ABC base. Color it with wild dashes of exuberant paints that depict the helter skelter adventures of the fly and the effect of the fly on the family. Add a tuneful refrain and call it something simple like Old Black Fly and chant each line as though it were a song. What do you have? A sure-fire hit. 1995 (orig.
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
A familiar and very popular book, Old Black Fly has also been issued as a board book. In this amusing story, a fly takes an alphabetical tour, landing on a variety of things he shouldn't until he meets with a most untidy end. Kids will enjoy the humor, repetition, the messy paintings that remind one of Jackson Pollack canvases and the very colorful and explosive ending. Rollicking fun for everyone. 1998 (orig.
Children's Literature - Mary Quattlebaum
In addition to a strong rhythm, young children often enjoy a certain playful subversiveness in the story. And in Aylesworth's lauded alphabet book, the author dishes up an annoying black fly that succeeds in pestering every member of a large household and finally meets his comeuppance. Children delight in shouting out the refrain of "Shoo fly!/Shoo fly!/Shoo!" as the fly buzzes through each letter of the alphabet. Gammell's illustrations render well the bright chaos wreaked by that one stubborn fly.
Children's Literature - Beverly Kobrin
With Stephen Gammell's exuberant paintings to look at and the melody of "Buffalo Girls won't you come out tonight...," to sing to, Jim Aylesworth's Old Black Fly is a jolly experience-even when insects aren't on the agenda!
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 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
From the Publisher

“A wild, alphabetical romp.” —Booklist

“* Sure to become a classic.” —School Library Joumal, starred review

“Aylesworth's buoyant, rhythmic verse provides inspiration for a wondrous evolution of Gammell's style.... Sheer delight for eyes, ears, and funny-bones.” —Kirkus Reviews, pointer

Product Details

Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
9.33(w) x 10.26(h) x 0.47(d)
AD400L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

Jim Aylesworth taught the first grade for more than twenty years. He has written more than twenty books for young readers, including My Son John and McGraw's Emporium. He lives in Hinsdale, Illinois, with his wife.

Stephen Gammell has illustrated many books for children. He won the Caldecott Medal for Song and Dance Man. Stephen Gammell lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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Old Black Fly 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was NOT the BIG BOOK EDITION as described. Keeping it because I can't be bothered to ship it back to the seller. I won't be buying from again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
dhender More than 1 year ago
This book is a great chance for children to experience repetition and rhyming. This little fly helps to teach children their alphabet in new and fun ways! It allows students to see how words flow in a sequence. It also uses the alphabet which enables children to see the order at which a letter comes in the alphabet.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I purchased this book to help alleviate a fear that my 3 year old daughter has of flies. She enjoyed this book and although she still has a little fear of flies, it is not nearly as bad as it had been. She will sit with me while I read the book to her and even touch the flies in the book. As it was difficult for me to find pre-school books relating specifically to flies, I would recommend this book to other parents. The story is enjoyable, easy to read.
SAM77 More than 1 year ago
I use thew book in my elementary music class and we sing the refrain to the tune of "Buffalo Gals" and add Orff instruments throughout the story. The kids love the story and the fact that it uses all the letters of the alphabet. And they love that the fly gets swatted at the end.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have a 6 month old daughter. Often I go to the library to take out books. This helps me decide which ones will be good to purchase. She really likes this book and I have a tough time reading it without laughing. I would highly recommend it.