Once Upon a Memory

( 2 )

Overview

Does a feather remember it once was a bird?

Does a book remember it once was a word?

When a feather drifts through a child's window, a magical journey begins. As the boy follows the feather, he is swept away to a world filled with adorable animals, where fantasy and reality come together in surprising and playful ways. From the cake that once was grain to the ocean that once was rain, whimsical "before" and "after" scenes offer readers a peek ...

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Overview

Does a feather remember it once was a bird?

Does a book remember it once was a word?

When a feather drifts through a child's window, a magical journey begins. As the boy follows the feather, he is swept away to a world filled with adorable animals, where fantasy and reality come together in surprising and playful ways. From the cake that once was grain to the ocean that once was rain, whimsical "before" and "after" scenes offer readers a peek at the world as seen through the eyes of a curious child, ultimately asking the question, "What will you remember?"

Nina Laden's poetic and cleverly woven text is perfectly paired with bestselling artist Renata Liwska's captivating illustrations. Together they create a story that will keep readers enchanted long after the journey has ended.

Finalist for the 2014 Governor General's Literary Award for Children's Literature—Illustration

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
10/14/2013
In a quiet poem, Laden (Romeow and Drooliet) guides thinking about the way a cake might “remember” being a field of grain or an ocean might recall its source in raindrops. Her philosophical verse names objects and their origins: “Does a chair remember it once was... a tree?/ Does a garden remember it once was... a pea?” Readers who grasp the link between a statue and a stone may be perplexed by a line about romance: “Does love remember it once was... new?” Liwska (The Quiet Book) pictures two childless birds courting; the next scene, of ducks building a nest (“Does a family remember it once was... two?”), will make more sense, at least for children in mom-and-dad homes. The artist’s typically delicate pencil sketches alternate between images of an inquisitive child and imagined scenes of animals at work and at play, underscoring the book’s meditative, contemplative quality. Laden’s closing question—“Will you remember you once were... a child?”—makes the exercise all the more personal, inviting readers to consider who they might become. Ages 3–6. Author’s agent: Laura Rennert, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Holly McGhee, Pippin Properties. (Dec.)
From the Publisher
Praise for Once Upon a Memory:
A Bank Street College Children's Book Committee Best Book of 2014 Selection

* "A rhythmic poem explores origins, both physical and abstract...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."

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"[A] gentle, dreamy picture book...A lyrical series of questions that play with the concept of memory and origins...[are] grounded by Liwska's pencil and mixed-media drawings."—School Library Journal

School Library Journal
10/01/2013
K-Gr 2—In this gentle, dreamy picture book, a little boy explores the world around him-past, present, and future-through everyday objects. The text is a lyrical series of questions that play with the concept of memory and origins: "Does a feather remember it once was… a bird?/Does a book remember it once was… a word?" Laden's somewhat esoteric prose is grounded by Liwska's pencil and mixed-media drawings that depict cherubic, round-faced woodland creatures getting haircuts, shopping at independent bookstores, and playing at the beach. Each question sparks an idea, while the illustrations extend the musings into multiple vingettelike stories. A child could breeze quickly through to the end or spend an hour contemplating each spread. Some of the questions may prove too lofty for some young children, though, even with visual prompts. For example, "Does love remember it once was… new?" is accompanied by two images in juxtaposition: an old woman sitting on a park bench with the narrator and a songbird serenading his lady love. A sweet book, if limited in appeal.—Kiera Parrott, Darien Library, CT
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2013-10-01
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)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316208161
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 12/3/2013
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 206,945
  • Age range: 3 - 6 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Nina Laden is an award-winning, bestselling children's book author and illustrator who lives in Seattle and on Lummi Island, WA, but mostly she lives in her imagination. She grew up in the New York City area, the daughter of two artists, and received a BFA from Syracuse University's College of Visual and Performing Arts. She has over a dozen books in print including The Night I Followed the Dog, When Pigasso Met Mootisse, and Roberto: The Insect Architect. Her website is www.ninaladen.com.

Renata Liwska has been drawing for as long as she can remember. Her old schoolbooks overflowed with sketches, and the children's book illustrations she creates today are influenced by memories from her childhood. She is the illustrator of the New York Times best sellers, The Quiet Book and The Loud Book!, and is the author and illustrator of Little Panda and The Red Wagon. Originally from Warsaw, Poland, Renata now lives in Calgary with her husband, Mike. Her website is www.renataliwska.com.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 27, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Joy Hannabass for Readers' Favorite Once Upon a Mem

    Reviewed by Joy Hannabass for Readers' Favorite

    Once Upon a Memory by Lina Laden starts with a couple of pages of a precious little boy and adorable critters when a feather blows through a window, taking the little boy on a fantasy journey with his curiosity having him wonder about what he sees and asking many questions. Even though there are not a lot of words in this book, the story can be clearly understood with the few words and the adorable and fantastic illustrations by Renata Liwska. 

    Does a feather remember it was once.....a bird?
    Does a book remember it was once.......a word?
    Does a chair remember it was once....a tree?
    Or how about a cake remembering it was once a grain?

    Author Lina Laden writes the sweetest story for little ones and Ms. Liwska gives young readers the most precious pictures throughout the book that will keep them coming back for more and more of these adorable critters. I love the pastel colors and the way the little boy and the animals are created. I think they bring the book to life, clearly showing each unique personality. My 5-year-old niece dearly loves this book. She has memorized the words and makes up her own little story as she looks at each page. I love when children can use their imagination and make up their own fantasy, and this book really gives them that opportunity. This is a book that I really recommend for all parents to add to their child's library. You will not be disappointed with Once Upon a Memory.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2014

    Sweet and Simple

    Beautiful illustrations, thoughtful words that gently introduce the interesting concept of origins. May need a tissue near by...

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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