Written by Michael Rosen, Illustrated by Kevin Waldron
Candlewick Press, 2010
My, oh my, Tiny Little Fly!
The plot in a nutshell: A fly annoys a few wild animals
The fly lands on an elephant’s trunk. The elephant winks one eye and then tries to crush it, but the fly zooms away. Next, the fly lands on a hippo’s ear. The hippo winks one eye and then tries to squash the fly by rolling over on it in the mud. The fly, of course, flies away before being squashed. The fly touches down on a tiger’s claw and the tiger winks one eye and swats at it. The fly winks one eye and then flies away, saying goodbye to all the big animals.
Author Michael Rosen tells this very simple story in a sing-song way that is fun to read, with a repetitive structure, onomatopoetic words and a rhyming meter that I’m sure will make it a hit with younger readers. We never really know Fly’s motives in landing on the bigger animals, but we’ve all experienced the annoyance of having a fly that won’t leave you alone. It’s easy to sympathize with the big animals, but you find yourself rooting for the fly here.
The colorful artwork, from illustrator Kevin Waldron, is done in pencil and gouache, with digital enhancements. The book itself is oversized, which plays up the size of these large animals and even further illustrates the smallness of the fly. I love the artwork, which uses patterns and smudges and lines to suggest the textures of the animals and their habitats. A single black line traces the flight of the fly from page to page, making it easier to spot. There’s not much to this book, but I would definitely recommend it for younger kids.
And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that sometimes being small has its advantages in a world of big things.