There Was An Old Sailor

Author: Saxby, Claire. Cassandra Allen, ill. 

Book Title: There Was an Old Sailor 

Kids Can Press, 2014. 

32 pages 

Price $18.95 

ISBN 978-1-77138-022-5 

Recommended Age Range 2-7 

Reviewed by Sonia Smith


In this beautifully illustrated and well-rhyming book, we get a new gentler take on the song: 

“There was an old lady who swallowed a fly”. Here the protagonist is a big white bearded sailor 

who swallowed a krill and perhaps he would get ill (instead of the possibility of death, like in the 

original song). The sailor keeps swallowing other sea creatures, in order to get the krill out, until 

he ends up swallowing a whale! Then, with one burp, all the animals are released and they go 

back to the sea. The constant repetition, humorous rhymes and the gorgeous illustrations that 

accompany each page, make this book an excellent choice for a read-aloud storytime. The fishy 

facts on sea animals are an added plus.


Highly recommended.