Once Upon a Book
Beautiful, vibrant celebration of imagination and stories.
No reviews yet.Add your rating
No reviews yet.Add your rating
Common Sense is a nonprofit organization. Your purchase helps us remain independent and ad-free.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Once Upon a Book by Caldecott and Newberry Honoree Grace Lin and Kate Messner is a clever and colorful celebration of books, reading, and imagination through the eyes of a young girl named Alice. The book features vibrant, gouache illustrations across two-page spreads and rhythmic text with repeated phrases. Alice's exploration of different environments (such as a rainforest and a desert) may spark families' interest in learning more about those places. Curiosity, imagination, and the warmth of family and home are highlighted.
There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.
What's the Story?
In ONCE UPON A BOOK, Alice is tired of the gloomy weather and being stuck inside. She tells her mother that she wishes she could be someplace else. As Alice stomps away, she notices a book. She opens the book to a page of tropical birds who invite her to join them in the forest. And she does. When it starts raining, Alice once again wishes to be someplace else. She turns the page and is invited to join camels in the desert. As the story continues, Alice visits various environments and continues to want to be elsewhere. Her dress blends into the background of each environment, as Alice moves from rainforest to desert to sea and beyond. Will Alice find at the end of of the book and her adventures a place where she really wants to be?
Is It Any Good?
This beautifully illustrated picture book is a celebration of books and imagination. In Once Upon a Story, readers -- just like Alice -- will find their moods lifted by the power of reading and stories. There's so much to enjoy and savor in this book. Rhythmic text and repeated phrases along with complex, vibrant illustrations make it a joy to read aloud and share repeatedly. Alice's adventures in various environments will spark readers' curiosity. Readers will also enjoy the details in the illustrations, including the way Alice's dress blends into each environment. They can look for the white rabbit on each page, along with the main character's name, a hat tip to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how Alice visits different environments in Once Upon a Book. Which would you choose to visit -- rainforest, desert, ocean, sky, or space? Why?
Alice reads and imagines herself inside a book. If you could go inside a book, which one would you choose? What would you see there?
What's your favorite illustration in the book? Why do you like it?
- Authors: Grace Lin, Kate Messner
- Genre: Picture Book
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Great Girl Role Models, Ocean Creatures, Wild Animals
- Character Strengths: Curiosity
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Little Brown and Company
- Publication date: February 7, 2023
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 4 - 8
- Number of pages: 40
- Available on: Hardback
- Award: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: February 27, 2023
Our Editors Recommend
A Big Mooncake for Little Star
Girl sneaks nibbles, mooncake wanes in cozy bedtime charmer.
Wild About Books
Determined librarian gets zoo animals reading.
Where the Wild Things Are
Classic all-ages masterpiece has a wild imagination.
For kids who love picture books
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate