There Was an Old . . . Dragon?!?

BookendsCindy: We all remember the folk song, “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly,” and the many book versions it inspired. It was one of the first flannel-board stories I created as a newbie children’s librarian back in the middle ages. We still don’t know why that old lady swallowed that fly—and yet a multitude of send-ups exist. Penny Parker Klostermann’s There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight (2015) is a new one that makes a lot more sense. It will tickle the funny bones of young readers or listeners who encounter this hungry dragon who swallows a knight . . . it’s not polite!

A funny introduction to nutrition and the perils of overeating.

There Was an Old Dragon by Penny KlostermannIn quick succession, he swallows a steed (clippity, clippity, clippity, clop!), a squire, a cook and his recipe book, a lady, a castle, and a moat. The water from the moat causes him to bloat (kids will love Ben Mantle’s funny illustration) and the dragon decides he has been very impolite. He burps out his lunch items in reverse, except for the knight. Eating the knight was just right.

While this story might not be quite right for a manners lesson, it will definitely be a funny introduction to nutrition and the perils of overeating. Even better, use it for those dragon story hours. The children will be chanting along with you by the third swallow . . . clippity, clippity, clippity, clop!



About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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