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Old Macdonald Had a Phone

Old Macdonald Had a Phone
Jeanne Willis By (author)
Tony Ross Illustrated by
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Andersen Press USA

Limited ***

9.5 X 11.0 in
32 pg

JUVENILE FICTION / Computers & Digital Media
JUVENILE FICTION / Lifestyles / Farm & Ranch Life


Old Macdonald loves his phone: it helps him organize his farm. But when the animals each get one of their own, they are soon on their phones all day—"Here a tweet, there a chat, WhatsApping the farm cat"—and before they know it, no work is getting done!

What can Old Macdonald do? Sing along to the tune of "Old Macdonald Had a Farm" and see! A hilarious cautionary tale for a new generation of phone-users, from the award-winning partnership of Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross.


"Who knew they had cell coverage on Old Macdonald's farm?

'Old Macdonald had a phone / And it was very smart, / It helped him organize his farm / And fill his shopping cart . . . / With a tractor here / And a pig trough there, / Chicken feed, cabbage seed, / Everything that he might need.' Then, disaster! The elderly White man drops his phone in the lake. When he orders a replacement, he accidentally orders 100 instead of one. The animals are excited; they each get their own, but this leads to chaos. All of the animals are too distracted to do their farm jobs. 'The sheep ignored the rams. / The sheepdog lost the lambs'; and 'The hens wouldn't lay. / On their phones all day.' Old Mac's solution is to confiscate all the phones, which sets the beasts to sulking. Young Macdonald has a solution: sensible use of phones for all! So they make some rules, and the farm returns to productivity. Willis' recasting of the familiar song maintains characters and cadence, though some of its most familiar elements are missing (very few moos and baas and nary an E-I-E-I-O). Readers ready for such a drastic divergence will find the tutorial in judicious phone use both on point and funny (with a hint of a British accent). As always, frequent collaborator Ross' sprightly, scribbly, and oh-so-expressive cartoon illustrations are a perfect match Willis' humor.

The lesson goes down easy in this silly earworm."—Kirkus ReviewsJournal

Author Bio

Jeanne Willis was born in St. Albans and trained as an advertising copywriter at Watford College. She is now a full-time writer. She lives in North London with her husband and two children.

Tony Ross has been illustrating books for over 40 years, and has been published all over the world. He has been named the best-selling illustrator in the UK three years in a row. He lives in Macclesfield, England.