There Was An Old Sailor

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There Was An Old Sailor by Claire SaxbyTwinkling eyes are combined with a ‘don’t mess with me stance’ then emphasised by his folded arms, this sailor is certainly a unique character.  Add to this his penchant for seafood – lots of it – this great character will certainly capture the attention and laughter of young listeners and readers.

Remember “there was an old lady, who swallowed a fly”, of course you do! Well this one is set to the same rhyme and rhythm pattern – the tragic end is taken out, and a wry sense of humour is added in – which as you know, always appeals to My Book Corner. And if your singing voice is as terrible challenged as mine, don’t despair, this works incredibly well as a ‘read aloud in a normal voice type story’. Phew.

It all started when this old sailor swallowed a krill (not sure about that one? Turn to the incredibly useful ‘fishy facts’ at the back!). Developing along the lines of a food chain (educational? Tick!), this poor old sailor gets himself stuck in a rut of having to keep throwing down an even bigger sea creature to get the one he just sent down. Really. The final one is a blue whale.

“It must have been dark

when he swallowed the shark”

Rhyming couplets like these, commenting on each new creature, really pour the humour in to this book making it a delight to read. The cheerful and animated illustrations by Cassandra Allen lend this picture book an eye catching charm.

You’ll definitely enjoy this one!

Classroom ideas, plus a colouring sheet, from Walker Books can be found here.


Claire Saxby
Cassandra Allen
Walker Books

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