ONCE UPON A MEMORY by Nina Laden
Kirkus Star

ONCE UPON A MEMORY

by , illustrated by
Age Range: 3 - 6

KIRKUS REVIEW

A rhythmic poem explores origins, both physical and abstract.

A boy sits in his room, serving tea to his stuffed animals, when a feather wafts in on the breeze. It prompts a string of wonderings, each with its own spread and paired by rhyme. “Does a feather remember it once was… / …a bird? // Does a book remember it once was… / …a word?” Every left-hand page shows a small scene of the boy with the named item (the feather; a book). The corresponding right-hand page shows a larger scene that’s related to the small one (an owl at the barber’s, feathers falling; animals patronizing a bookstore); these are softly round-edged. Many animals in the larger scenes are the child’s toys come to life. Laden’s impeccable cadence wanders into nature (“Does a cake remember it once was… / …grain? // Does an ocean remember it once was… / …rain?”) and some gentle, child-friendly philosophy (“Does an island remember it once was… / …unknown?”). One origin’s too narrow—not all families “once [were] two,” nor are all parental sets heterosexual, like the male and female mallard depicted. Liwska fans will recognize her carefully detailed sketches and their fine, soft crosshatchings and shadings. Colors are grays and browns with muted red, green and blue highlights; animal characters are tender and genuine. These musings on memory and change are thought-provoking, yet the piece also works as a lullaby.

Reflective and peaceful. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 3rd, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-316-20816-1
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2013




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