Once I Was

Overview

Once I was an alphabet, now I am a book.
Once I couldn't feed myself, now I love to cook
Everyone and everything changes. Something small becomes part of something big. Once upon a time you were one way, but you can bet that you'll be different when you're even just a little bit older. Poet Niki Clark Leopold celebrates some of the amazing changes that happen to all of us as we grow, and the bold and vivid artwork of Woodleigh Marx Hubbard ...
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Overview

Once I was an alphabet, now I am a book.
Once I couldn't feed myself, now I love to cook
Everyone and everything changes. Something small becomes part of something big. Once upon a time you were one way, but you can bet that you'll be different when you're even just a little bit older. Poet Niki Clark Leopold celebrates some of the amazing changes that happen to all of us as we grow, and the bold and vivid artwork of Woodleigh Marx Hubbard gives our imaginations brightly colored inspiration.

A rhyming expression of the exciting growth and change experienced in childhood.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Optimism radiates from this poem, which favors the present in its comparison of "then" and "now." "I used to be afraid to swim,/ now I am a mermaid./ Once I couldn't comb my hair,/ now I make a braid," says a girl with long brown hair, who goes from standing apprehensively on a beach to diving deep in a blue, seaweedy ocean. In a sequence reading "Once the dark was scary,/ now I like the night," a dark-haired boy rests in a sleeping bag under a starry sky. In the final pages, a baby's bassinet ("I used to play alone...") gives way to a picture of the girl and boy together ("but now I have a friend"). Their pets, a crimson dog and canary-yellow cat, frolic with them. Leopold wholeheartedly affirms the passage of time; her narrators start out as "the recipe" and become "the cake." If the rhyme sometimes suffers from pedestrian content, Hubbard's (Hip Cat) energetic artwork enlivens the volume. Solid, intense hues of paint put readers in mind of construction paper cutouts, while spiraling curve patterns and repetitive speckles suggest the freewheeling spirits of the speakers. Ages 5-up. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Carolyn Mott Ford
A delightful book with a perfect blend of text and illustration. The bold, colorful pictures and the simple sentences together convey a sense of wonder and growth in a fresh and appealing manner. Children and the adults who read to them will enjoy this lightly rhyming story. The concepts are beguiling. The alphabet becomes a book and the baby who couldn't feed himself becomes a cook. A list of ingredients for joy cake illustrates how a recipe becomes the cake. A pine cone becomes a forest and a tiny bird singing alone is joined by a flock of brightly feathered companions to become a chorus. The book ends with "Once I was a whisper, now I am the wind./I used to play alone, but now I have a friend." This is a joyous story that will be read again and again.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Growing and changing is the idea behind this slim poem/picture book. "I used to be a penny,/now I am the sun./Once I couldn't even walk,/now I always run." Leopold's inventive sing-song verse is pleasing, as are Hubbard's intensely bright and detailed illustrations. The pacing of text and pictures (all text is black or white on top of a full-bleed illustration) varies in format expertly throughout the book. However, the combination of bold fields of color and minute and fanciful details in the pictures leave the spreads without the carrying power necessary for storytime; and the text sadly peters out, never progressing beyond its playful comparisons. This is a pleasant enough, lightweight choice for larger collections.-Nina Lindsay, Oakland Public Library, CA
Lauren Adams
With its modest themes on growth and friendship, this book could serve as a good conversation starter with preschool audiences.
The Horn Book Magazine
Kirkus Reviews
This exuberant picture book features rhyming couplets that celebrate growth and change. It is a good choice for reading aloud, or a begin-the-day class chant: "Once I was an alphabet, now I am a book. Once I couldn't feed myself, now I love to cook." Leopold captures many milestones young children will recognize. Some they have already passed, moving from infancy to childhood; some may be ahead, e.g., overcoming fear of the dark, or finding a friend. Hubbard uses complementary colors that shimmer on the page, and lively designs with a rhythm and movement all their own. A brave and fetching book, destined for repeat readings, destined to be loved. (Picture book. 5-8) .
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399231056
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 3/15/1999
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.28 (w) x 10.28 (h) x 0.39 (d)

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