13 Ways to Eat a Fly – Perfect Picture Book Friday

After reading this title, the first thing I though of was Wallace Stevens’ poem, 13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird. But blackbirds do not disappear in that poem. Here, the flies….meet their demise.




And not just a single kind of fly. The reader watches 13 different kinds of flies—become someone else’s dinner.

Text ©️Sue Heavenrich Illustration ©️David Clark

Big flies,

small flies,

fat flies,


Yum! These flies are someone’s dinner.

We might think of flies as pests.

But many animals—and plants—

depend on flies for food.

How do they meet their demise?

#13 is zapped…

Text ©️Sue Heavenrich Illustration ©️David Clark

#12 is wrapped….

#11 is eaten, waterbound.

#10 is eaten underground.

Notice how subtraction is involved. We’re doing math!!

And, oh, the visuals.

And oh, the fascinating description of what is actually happening to the fly.

Kids are going to—dare I say it?

Eat this book up! Did you know that a group of fly farmers is making protein powder from fruit flies?

The back matter showing the edible parts of a fly (e.g. abdomen – soft and chewy!!), and the Non-human Insectivore’s Guide to Fine Dining is a hoot for parents, too, with it’s reference to eating local.

It thrills my heart to see nonfiction done in such an entertaining, engaging, and informative way.

And those illustrations, well, kids will be “ew”-ing for good reasons. They’re fabulously icky and funny.


Make an origami fly

Write a poem about 13 ways to _____ (fill in the blank). For example, 13 Ways to Eat a French Fry. Let your imagine run wild!

Visit the website PestWorld for Kids and learn more about different bugs, and even a few “pesty” rodents.

Title: 13 Ways to Eat a Fly

Author: Sue Heavenrich

Illustrator: David Clark

Publisher: Charlesbridge, 2021

Ages: 4-8

Themes: insects, predators, math (subtraction)

For more perfect picture book recommendations, please visit Susanna Hill’s blog.

18 thoughts on “13 Ways to Eat a Fly – Perfect Picture Book Friday

  1. Barbara Gruener says:

    The illustrations grabbed me right out of the gate on this one and now I’m frustrated that I didn’t give it a closer look last night at Barnes and Noble. Thanks for the sneak peek inside; can’t wait to devour it.

  2. Sue Heavenrich says:

    Thanks so much Jilanne, for featuring 13 Ways today. I’m sure after reading it some kids will be cooking up new ways to devour dipterans.

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