Free Thanksgiving Lesson Plans: I Know an Old Lady that Swallowed a Pie

Free Thanksgiving Lesson Plans: I Know an Old Lady that Swallowed a Pie

Title: I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed A Pie
Author: Allison Jackson
Illustrator: Judith Byron Schachner
Ages: 4 – 8
Description (from Amazon): In the awfully silly I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie, children’s librarian and author Alison Jackson bypasses pilgrims completely and cuts straight to the stomach of Thanksgiving in America–dinner. A slightly dizzying new spin on the well-loved cumulative rhyming song I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly,” this madcap picture book stars a ravenously hungry relative who comes to Thanksgiving dinner with a pie. Since she eats the pie in its entirety before she even gets in the house, she has to swallow some cider (that “rumbled and mumbled and grumbled inside her”). If you must know, “She swallowed the cider to moisten the pie, / The Thanksgiving pie, which was really too dry, /Perhaps she’ll die.” The story continues in this vein, as we watch the hosts grow visibly alarmed–and the children visibly delighted– by the old lady’s surreal appetite and supernaturally increasing girth. Illustrator Judith Byron Schachner–creator of the acclaimed Willy and May–has masterfully captured this ludicrous tale in hilariously haywire pen-and-ink drawings, splashed with watercolor. Kids will love this romping, rhyming frolic through a familiar favorite.

Discussion Points:

Ask your student the following questions:

  • What are your favorite Thanksgiving foods?
  • Is Thanksgiving really about the foods we eat?
  • Why do we celebrate Thanksgiving?
  • Did the Old Lady eat a healthy, balanced meal?

Additional Resources:


As you and your child work on this craft together, discuss the questions above.

Potpourri Pie Craft

You will need:

  • 2 – 3 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of salt
  • 1 cup of water
  • Tin pie pan (we used a small one for pot pies)
  • Extra tin foil
  • Potpourri (we found this at the Dollar Tree)
  • Butter knife


  1. In a bowl, combine the flour, salt & water.  Mix together until it is the consistency of play dough.  (add more flour, if needed)
  2. Sprinkle a little flour on the counter and roll the dough to 1/8″ thickness.
  3. Line the pie tin with the dough.  Use the butter knife to cut off the extra.
  4. Crumple up some tin foil and fill the pie pan as high as you will put the “pie filling” (potpourri).
  5. Take the extra dough,  knead it until it is smooth and roll it out again to 1/8″ thickness.
  6. Using the butter knife, cut the dough into thin strips.
  7. Assemble the strips in a woven pattern on top of the crumbled tin foil, wetting the parts that touch with water.
    1. Just the parts on the top pie crust, not where the top touches the bottom!
  8. Bake in a 250 degree oven for about 30 minutes, or longer until it is completely hardened.*
  9. Remove & let cool.
  10. Take off the top and remove the tin foil inside.
  11. Take the “pie” out of the pan.  Fill it with potpourri and place the woven crust on top.

*Note: We found that taking the top off the pie when it was firm enough to hold it’s own shape and letting it bake separately saves a lot of frustration in step 10!

Lindsey Clair

Lindsey Clair is a homeschooling mother of three daughters. She is married to her best friend Ron since 1999! Lindsey possesses a degree in Child Development and just completed her BS degree in business marketing with a social media concentration. She is currently a professional blogger and social media manager. Lindsey is also a trained musician in the areas of piano and vocals. Her hobbies include reading, shopping, blogging, and hanging out with family and friends.