Parents' Guide to

Once Was a Time

By Mary Eisenhart, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Imaginative, emotional tale of BFFs torn apart in time.

Book Leila Sales Fantasy 2016
Once Was a Time Poster Image

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Leila Sales crafts a fast-paced, engaging, sometimes heartrending tale of two 10-year-old BFFs determined not to let World War II or anything else tear them apart -- and then something does. ONCE WAS A TIME isn't the first story or the last to plunge a kid from another era into a 21st-century American middle school, but it's one of the more intriguing. Sales has a light touch with the life lessons, letting her protagonist figure things out for herself rather than jumping in with sermons. Sophisticated readers may roll their eyes a bit at how conveniently potentially plan-derailing issues work themselves out -- as when Lottie, determined to tag along on a classmate's trip to Italy on short notice, miraculously has a passport already (which, considering she's an undocumented time traveler, is a bit much). But the girls' struggles against insurmountable forces to stay connected will grab many a young reader, and book-loving kids will find Lottie especially relatable:

"Everyone in my family read during dinner, and pretty much all the rest of the time, too. I had A Little Princess in my lap, and as soon as Dad finished telling us about time travel, I was planning to read (for the eleventh time) the scene where Sara makes Miss Minchin cross by being secretly fluent in French. A Little Princess is my favorite book. I took it out of the library six times in a row before I had saved up enough pocket money to buy my own copy."

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