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Old Black Fly


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About 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.


Aylesworth and Gammell wing their way through the alphabet on the back of a pesky housefly in this ebullient picture-book romp. On a summer day, old black fly ``bothered the baby,'' ``coughed on the cookies'' and ``drove the dog nearly out of his wits,'' as family members attempt to ``Shoo fly! / Shoo fly! Shooo.'' The persistent pest leaves a messy trail of near disasters until finally meeting up with the wrong end of a swatter. Ayleworth's snappy couplets constitute a waggish presentation of a basic concept. A brightly colored first letter highlights one word on each page that corresponds to the objects and action found in the illustration. Gammell's paintings are exuberant splashes of mayhem--rainbows of splattered hues from which truly memorable characters emerge. His appropriately bug-eyed (and cross-eyed) fly and gap-toothed humans sporting crazy hairdos provide a level of dementia that children will relish. Ages 4-7. (Apr.)

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

"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

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