There Was an Old Sailor

30 Jan

Today’s review is for The Was an Old Sailor, written by Claire Saxby, illustrated by Cassandra Allen, published by Kids Can Press. It is scheduled for release on March 1, 2014. I received a free electronic copy of this book from the publisher, through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

There Was an Old Sailor book cover

We’ve all heard the tale of the old lady who swallowed a fly–but did you hear the one about the old sailor who swallowed a krill? No. Well, you’re in for a treat. The remake of a familiar folk song shifts the story from the farm to the sea. Children will giggle and sing along as the old sailor swallows increasingly large sea creatures.

Folk songs make for good toddler books, because parents don’t have to worry about not knowing how the song goes. But, sometimes, they also feel tired and dull. When you’ve sung something countless times, the craving to change things up can be intense. Saxby solves this problem by switching up the words. The struture, rhythm and rhyme-scheme of the original song remain intact, while the transition to a nautical theme is refreshing and fun. Her verse scans flawlessly, meaning that parents and educators won’t be left stumbling over misplaced beats or forced rhymes.

Allen’s pencil and gouache illustrations are round, plump, and appealing. They are cute enough for toddlers to love, and detailed enough to keep their wandering eyes engaged. The sailor himself is the perfect balance between old salt and grandpa. The swirling waves of the ocean create a great sense of movement, and will make you want to sway in time to the beat of the verse.

It takes a special talent to take something old and familiar and transform it into something new and equally enjoyable. I’m pleased that Saxby has such talent. This 4 star book is a great choice for parents who want to sing with their kids at home, or for librarians who are looking for something that will burn off some energy during story time. It also provides a great opportunity to talk with kids about marine biology, the food chain, and other nautical topics.

You can find more information about this book at Goodreads.


4 Responses to “There Was an Old Sailor”

  1. Carly February 6, 2014 at 4:20 am #

    Looks like a fun book! I love the cover illustration. Stopping by from the Kid Lit Blog Hop.

  2. Stacie Theis (@beachboundbooks) February 9, 2014 at 3:38 am #

    I have read countless “there was an old lady…” books to my children over the years and would have loved to have had this one to share with them when they were little, especially my boys. Maybe I can convince my teens to let me read it to them before bed…lol! Thanks for sharing this book on the hop.

  3. marieclx February 12, 2014 at 1:59 pm #

    Oh fun! I love remakes of old stand bys -and the nautical theme sounds great too! – stopping by from KLBH 🙂

  4. Renee @ Mother Daughter Book Reviews February 13, 2014 at 6:23 am #

    That’s totally my kind of book! lol I love singing books and I love changing the words (although it does drive my kids crazy) Thanks for sharing in the Kid Lit Blog Hop and for hosting with us once again! 🙂

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