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ONCE UPON A TWICE by Denise Doyen Kirkus Star

ONCE UPON A TWICE

By Denise Doyen (Author) , Barry Moser (Illustrator)

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: Aug. 25th, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-375-85612-9
Publisher: Random House

A foolish mouse is prone to jamming up the line of fellow night-foragers to smell a rose and wandering off to watch a beetle. After nearly becoming a snake’s dinner, “Jam” lives on to lecture mouslings on the dangers of moonlit meanders. The lushness here is in Doyen’s “Jabberwocky”-inspired verse, delivered chiefly in rhyming four-line stanzas. “ ‘Beware the dangershine of Moon, / Do not disturb the bugs of June!’ / The elder mouncelors whispercroon / A tune that tells Jam what to fear…” The scansion’s near perfect, and deliciously inventive words (riskarascal, jaw-claws, furlickt) invite repeat read-alouds. Moser’s fulsome full-bleed pictures employ a palette of midnight blue, inky charcoal, grayed greens and luminescent ochres. Jagged stalks silhouette ominously against a fat, full moon that picks out detail in a cluster of white roses and the reptilian gleam of a snake’s scales. In a particularly effective spread, pairs of eyes, anonymously aglow, peer at prey from near-pitch darkness. This slight cautionary tale is undeniably arrayed in a gorgeous brocade, woven of fresh, inventive wordplay and masterful illustrations. (Picture book. 4-7)