Old Macdonald Had a Phone

Old Macdonald Had a Phone

By Author / Illustrator

Jeanne Willis, Tony Ross


Picture Books

Age range(s)



Andersen Press Ltd








Old Macdonald loves his phone: it helps him organise 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?

From the award-winning partnership of Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross, the fourth in the series of picture books exploring online issues.



Old Macdonald loves his phone. It helps him to organise things on the farm and keep it running smoothly. However, when he needs to order a new one, he ends up with a hundred, meaning all the animals get one of their own. Soon, they are all addicted to their phones and nothing on the farm gets done. Fortunately, help is at hand and Young Macdonald saves the day by suggesting a 'sensible use' plan, and the farm is soon running smoothly once more.

Old Macdonald Had a Phone is one of a series of highly amusing, but powerful, books on e-safety by Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross. Tackling the subject of limiting screen time and living life to the full, the text bounces along to the tune of 'Old Macdonald', making it a joy to share and join in with whilst conveying an important message.

The story acknowledges how phones can be useful and fun to use but, like all good cautionary tales, uses humour and a light-hearted tone to show that you can have too much of a good thing. Tony Ross's quirky illustrations are the perfect complement to the text, making it perfect for using with any age group as they will appeal to older children as much as younger, although hopefully, they won't have phones yet!

The story offers an excellent starting point for discussions at home as well as at school and could easily be used as part of the e-safety curriculum along with the other books in the series. The fact that it is Young Macdonald who suggests that technology should be used sensibly and that life should be lived to the full adds the extra element of the young teaching the old(er), which children always enjoy.

A modern day cautionary tale for a modern day issue!

Picture book / Reviewed by Susan Wilsher, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 5+


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