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There Was An Ol' Cajun

There Was An Ol' Cajun

4.0 2
by Deborah Kadair (Illustrator)

In this inventive retelling of There Was an Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly, an old Cajun accidentally swallows a gnat.


In this inventive retelling of There Was an Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly, an old Cajun accidentally swallows a gnat.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"There was an ol' Cajun who swallowed a gnat" begins this quirky debut effort, a twist on "There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly." Instead of the domestic animals that populate the original version, all the critters reside in the Bayou a skeeter, a newt, a gar and so on and the infectiously silly refrain is pure patois: "Why he did dat?" The voracious Cajun meets his demise not by keeling over from eating a horse, but rather from trying to consume a gator that also has dinner on its mind. Facing each page of text and set against a bright white background is a na f, minimalist collage that incorporates natural materials as well as paper and paint. The ol' Cajun is a spiky-haired outline of white space cut from black paper; with each new meal, the outline expands to accommodate his prey. Even with Kadair's highly sophisticated process of visual distillation, children will recognize the critters and appreciate her aesthetics. The cumulative text could have benefited from a roomier layout the block of words grows grayer and harder to read with each addition. But Kadair offers up a story of wily humor that begs to be read with a Cajun inflection, of course. Ages 5-8. (Apr.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-This takeoff on "There Was an Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly" is a lot of fun. An ol' Cajun swallows Louisiana swamp wildlife instead of a fly, and contends with a gnat ("Imagine that, he swallowed a gnat./Why he did dat?"), a skeeter, a newt, a gar, a coon, a hound- until he meets up with a gator. The simple, well-designed collages are created from cut paper and decorated with Spanish moss, pebbles, etc. A great deal of white space contrasts with the bold, black text and bright pictures. The excellent format, with text on the left and art on the right, shows each animal that's about to be swallowed opposite the explanation, followed by a black-and-white silhouette of the interior view of the Cajun's growing stomach and the phrase, "Why he did dat?" in a red frame. This appealing book has perhaps one flaw: at the end, the Cajun "swallowed the gator" and the list of the other animals is repeated; after that, "There was an ol' gator who swallowed a Cajun." Is this another gator? The lack of clarity may momentarily confuse children. However, this should not prevent purchase of this fine, humorous version of an extremely popular tale in the storytelling repertoire.-Judith Constantinides, formerly at East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

Pelican Publishing Company, Incorporated
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x (d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Deborah Ousley Kadair trained in the Montessori teaching method, Kadair also conducts storytelling and illustration workshops for children. She lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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There Was An Ol' Cajun 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of my children's favorites!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Why We Say Dat., July 7, 2009 By Brenda & Megan (University Center, MI) This is review is from: There Was an Ol' Cajun (Pelican Publishing Company, Inc.) The collage style artwork is a unique twist on illustrating a children's book. However, the pictures are not captivating. The story's theme is similar to There Was an Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly. The repetition is beneficial for children to interact with the book. As teachers, we do not know where we would insert the book in our curriculum.