Cover image for I know an old lady who swallowed a dreidel / by Caryn Yacowitz ; illustrated by David Slonim.
I know an old lady who swallowed a dreidel / by Caryn Yacowitz ; illustrated by David Slonim.
Publication Information:
New York : Arthur A. Levine Books, c2014.

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : colour illustrations ; 22 x 27 cm
A beloved grandmother spreads out a yummy Hanukkah supper only to develop an insatiable appetite that alarms her family, in a story augmented by parodies of art by such masters as da Vinci, Rembrandt, and Picasso.
Added Author:
Added Uniform Title:
Little old lady who swallowed a fly.


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YAC Book Easy Collection

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A family drives through the snow to visit their beloved bubbe, who spreads out a Chanukah supper for everyone to enjoy. But one dish goes a little wrong:

"I know an old lady who swallowed a dreidel

A Chanukah dreidel she thought was a bagel...

Perhaps it's fatal."

Indeed, Bubbe's first bite leads to an insatiable taste for oil, latkes, applesauce, gelt -- even menorahs! But as the family tries to distract her from her gluttony, the items she devours grow ever larger. Will they be able to reconnect with her and bring her home for the last night of Chanukah -- or will her feasting in fact be fatal?

Beyond the joy of a Jewish take on this most American of folk songs, the illustrations here offer hilarious parodies of great works of art by da Vinci, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Hopper, Rockwell, Matisse, Picasso, and other masters--adding a whole new layer of humor and culture to the familiar tune. You'll love this old lady, and want to visit her every Chanukah for years to come.

Author Notes

Caryn Yacowitz is the author of PUMPKIN FIESTA, illustrated by Joe Cepeda, and THE JADE STONE: A CHINESE FOLKTALE, illustrated by Ju-Hong Chen. She lives in Palo Alto, CA. Please visit her website at

David Slonim's many children's books include HE CAME WITH THE COUCH, I LOATHE YOU, and MOISHE'S MIRACLE, a NEW YORK TIMES Best Illustrated Books selection. He lives with his family in Chesterfield, Indiana. Please visit his website at

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

This isn't just a holiday-themed spoof of the classic cumulative song-Slonim (Digger, Dozer, Dumper) takes readers through a nothing-sacred salute to art history. It all begins as the old lady gulps down a growing litany of Jewish-related food and nonfood items (brisket, candles) in search of a remedy for the triggering mishap of the title; she inadvertently swallows a "Chanukah dreidel she thought was a bagel" after her cat knocks it onto the cream cheese-schmeared item. All the while, Slonim's illustrations parody, among others, Hopper's Nighthawks, Wyeth's Christina's World, Munch's The Scream, and van Gogh's Starry Night, complete with menorah. An artist's note at the back identifies all of the original works. It's meshugenah in the best sense of the word. Ages 4-8. Author's agency: Adams Literary. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Review

The American Gothic parody on the first wordless spread -- showing Ma and Pa, a boy, a catand a menorah -- previews this freewheeling volume, part warm family holiday story, part art appreciation book, and part cumulative rhyme. Yacowitz's clever Hanukkah-themed text lists the items swallowed by the bubbie: latkes, gelt, candles, dreidel ("Perhaps it's fatal" is the refrain). Slonim's humorous cartoony illustrations -- a well-designed mix of spreads and panels -- tell their own story, courtesy of the old masters. Bubbie stands in for the Mona Lisa, the figure in The Scream, and Rodin's Thinker; homages to Warhol, Rockwell, van Gogh, Wyeth, Hopper ("Mel's All-Night Latkes" diner), and others make cameo appearances. An artist's note is appended. elissa gershowitz (c) Copyright 2014. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.