I’ve known, loved, and admired many wonderful old ladies.
My great-grandmother Rebecca, my grandmothers, Min and Rae, and my own mother, Raisa, lived to be active and vibrant into their 80s, 90s, and beyond.
I think lots of people have photos of unknown old ladies from their extended family trees in their basement archives. Here are a few of mine. I have no idea who these people are.
I’ve admired the intelligence, political savvy, tenacity, grace, and millinery style of many nonagenarians in public life, including the majestic matriarch Queen Elizabeth II of England, who just died peacefully in her sleep at Balmoral Castle in Scotland.
Personally, I spend considerable time and resources trying not to look like an old lady, and I truly enjoy hanging out with young people. But there are lots of old ladies in children’s books I do love to interact professionally with every day at Scholastic.
I started to research old lady archetypes in children’s books and spent some time reading Carl Jung. That’s a very interesting project for a rainy day! I would like to understand why so many old ladies in children’s books start out eating flies and keep going.… Does anyone know the history?
Which brings me to my favorite ravenous literary old lady and the young-for-her-years heroine of Scholastic Book Clubs’ Book of the Week: There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves! by Lucille Colandro, illustrated by Jared Lee.
“In the cartoon drawings, the colors are vivid and the illustrations are large, filling the spreads.” —School Library Journal
Lucille Colandro began her career as a high school English teacher before becoming a Scholastic Book Clubs editor and using her professional knowledge of what kids like to read to create a rhyming series starring the rapacious and beloved Old Lady.
I hate to name-drop, but I worked alongside Lucille at Scholastic Book Clubs for 20 years. I remember well when Steve Metzger, the editor of the Firefly and SeeSaw Book Clubs, said that we needed a Halloween book for young children that wasn’t too scary. Lucille brought her understanding of what kids and teachers love in a predictable picture book and came up with the first book in the series, There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat!
Ken Geist, a Scholastic editor, had the brilliant idea to ask Jared Lee to illustrate the book. There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat! was an instant hit in the Scholastic Book Clubs flyers, and today, 29 titles and millions of copies in print later, Lucille and Jared’s Old Lady is a global superstar helping millions of children learn and love to read.
With concepts of prediction, rhyming, counting, and sequencing taking place in a fun autumn setting, There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves! is a perfect picture book for the classroom to celebrate the season.
I haven’t discussed old ladies with David Vozar recently, but I do know he loves leaves and he has some feelings about them:
We are excited to offer this perennial favorite for just $1 a copy—and we have created some teacher-approved resources to help you share the story with your students:
• Watch the Book Boys Brain Break video (and play the “Name of...” game with your students afterward)
• Learn how second grade teacher Alexia Perkins uses the book in the classroom to teach story elements in Book Talks
• Watch a video with author Lucille Colandro and Book Talks teacher Alexia Perkins in Behind the Scenes
• Download a printable activity to accompany this Book of the Week in Cooked Up from a Book
I hope your students love reading There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves!
We are committed to helping teachers build students’ appetites for reading. That’s why in addition to the Scholastic Book Clubs $1 Book of the Week, we’ve created a special recipe of inflation-busting savings for teachers, exclusive author events, live read-aloud shows, and fun contests to get kids engaged with reading.
Thanks for reading with us!
This Book Is Available from Scholastic Book Clubs