Once Upon a Twice

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Overview

A 2010 E.B. White Read-Aloud Honor Award recipient, Denise Doyen's rollicking, rhyming tale—with moody, evocative illustrations by award-winner Barry Moser—is sure to please children AND adults.
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Overview

A 2010 E.B. White Read-Aloud Honor Award recipient, Denise Doyen's rollicking, rhyming tale—with moody, evocative illustrations by award-winner Barry Moser—is sure to please children AND adults.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this cautionary tale about a mouse named Jam Boy who learns to follow the rules, Moser’s dark illustrations set a menacing tone while Doyen’s verse will be a challenge for the book’s target audience. Newcomer Doyen’s puns and invented words are sometimes clever, as when the mice are out at night “scoutaprowl” and Jam Boy escapes from a snake by quickly “scritchscrambl[ing] in a log!” However, the complex text often sounds as if the imaginary words were conceived to rhyme rather than to make a Jabberwocky-like, off-kilter kind of sense (“They runtunnel through the riddle—/ Secret ruts hid inbetwiddle—/ But one mousling jams the middle!/ Whilst he goofiddles, others howl”). After Jam Boy’s escape, the text awkwardly announces, “Mouse years go by...” and the reader next sees Jam Boy as a bearded “eldermouse” warning that “The world afield is dangerouse.... Be Forewarned!” Moser’s (Hogwood Steps Out) paintings, on the other hand, are a marvel of nighttime beauty, the rice paddies lit by a yellow moon and filled with expressive mice and animals who witness the story’s events. Ages 4–7. (Aug.)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
"Once upon a twice," on a moonlit night, "mice were scoutaprowl." Doyen plays with language, inventing new words to tell the magical tale of a mouse called Jam Boy. The other mice warn him of "the dangers of Moon" lurking in the night. Instead of going home Jam, feeling clever, seeks adventure. A snake spots him. We, and the other creatures, fear he "has reached his early dead a-sleep." But Jam has luckily survived to warn other mouslings that the "world afield is dangerouse." "Be forewarned!" The suspense-filled tale is told in verse crafted with three rhyming lines and a fourth that rhymes with that of the next verse. The format and vocabulary are teasing challenges for curious minds. On wide double pages, from one endpage to the other, Moser creates the setting of a spooky dark world, illuminated by tiny firefly-like lights and an ever-present full moon, and dominated by spiky black silhouettes. This melodramatic stage is home to an appealing group of white mice. The young are nervous, the gray beards more sedate, as they deliver warnings to our hero. Emotional involvement is inevitable. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—Doyen's utterly sound and alive story is paired with the perfect illustrator, whose deft touch provides all the eeriness that it begs for. The cautionary tale begins with the "eldermice" telling the youngsters who are gathered to play in the night air that the woods and ponds are filled with creatures dangerous to their kind. With gloriously nonsensical words and phrases (e.g., "scritchscrambles"), the author manages to get the point across that there is much to fear in the night. Jam Boy doesn't listen and instead brags that he is unafraid, and he stays to play alone by the pond. Here the language grows taut with suspense, and Moser's dark backdrop is punctuated with fireflies. "Half-submerged, a slender queen/Esses 'cross the pond unseen,/Sly serpentine—bound not to miss…." Out of nowhere a snake roils, coils, and lashes. Splash! What has happened to Jam Boy? Children will be sitting on the edge of their seats awaiting some news about their fallen protagonist. Despite the dark feel, there is much to rejoice about in learning of Jam Boy's fate. Ultimately a story of youthful arrogance—or as Doyen calls it, "furry overconfidence"—versus the elders' wise experience, this wonderful book is a marvelous read-aloud that children will want to hear again and again. It is too good to save for Halloween.—Joan Kindig, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
Kirkus Reviews
A foolish mouse is prone to jamming up the line of fellow night-foragers to smell a rose and wandering off to watch a beetle. After nearly becoming a snake's dinner, "Jam" lives on to lecture mouslings on the dangers of moonlit meanders. The lushness here is in Doyen's "Jabberwocky"-inspired verse, delivered chiefly in rhyming four-line stanzas. " ‘Beware the dangershine of Moon, / Do not disturb the bugs of June!' / The elder mouncelors whispercroon / A tune that tells Jam what to fear . . . " The scansion's near perfect, and deliciously inventive words (riskarascal, jaw-claws, furlickt) invite repeat read-alouds. Moser's fulsome full-bleed pictures employ a palette of midnight blue, inky charcoal, grayed greens and luminescent ochres. Jagged stalks silhouette ominously against a fat, full moon that picks out detail in a cluster of white roses and the reptilian gleam of a snake's scales. In a particularly effective spread, pairs of eyes, anonymously aglow, peer at prey from near-pitch darkness. This slight cautionary tale is undeniably arrayed in a gorgeous brocade, woven of fresh, inventive wordplay and masterful illustrations. (Picture book. 4-7)
From the Publisher
Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2009:
"Undeniably arrayed in a gorgeous brocade, woven of fresh, inventive wordplay and masterful illustrations."

Starred Review, School Library Journal, August 2009:
"This wonderful book is a marvelous read-aloud that children will want to hear again and again."

Review, Booklist, July 1, 2009:
"This handsome book offers a terrific opportunity for a capable narrator to deliver a captivating read-aloud."

Syndicated Review, The New & Observer (Raleigh, NC), August 24, 2009:
"'Once Upon a Twice' is one of those amazing books that you and your kids will both love to read aloud for years."

Review, Newsday, October 4, 2009:
"Excellent for reading aloud, even to the youngest readers, who will just let the poetic words wash over them."

Review, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, October 4, 2009:
"A treat for the eye and the ear."

Review, Chicago Parent, November 2009:
"Fun to read aloud."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375856129
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 8/25/2009
  • Series: Picture Book Series
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.76 (w) x 10.34 (h) x 0.47 (d)

Meet the Author

DENISE DOYEN studied creative writing, poetry, and design at Stanford University. She earned a master's in film direction from the American Film Institute and has directed children's television for Disney. A writer at heart, she went back to school to concentrate on writing for children. 

BARRY MOSER is an acclaimed illustrator who has won a National Book Award forAlice's Adventures in Wonderland, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award forAppalachia: The Voices of Sleeping Birds, a Parents magazine "Best of the Year" for My Dog Rosie, and an ALA Notable for Whistling Dixie. The New York Timesnamed Jump Again! More Adventures of Brer Rabbit one of the "Ten Best Illustrated Children's Books," and Redbook named it a "Best Book for Children." His works can be found in special collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art, the British Museum, and the Library of Congress. Barry lives in Massachusetts.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 11 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(9)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

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1 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 26, 2009

    Once Upon a Twice

    unashamedly literary and yet easily understood by children of all ages, thanks to Barry Moser's beautiful illustrations, Denise Doyen has dared to reach beyond the ordinary and create a work of art.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Wow! This book is MAGIC!

    I've been waiting for this book after seeing the starred reviews in Kirkus and other pretty tough journals. And then hearing a general buzz starting around the kidlit watercoolers (make that the blogosphere) that a great looking, great sounding, picture book was coming down the pike.

    And now it's here... and, wow!

    Riproaring, fun-to-say nonsense phrases, but still a clear exciting story (that will just be a blast to read out loud) and drop-dead gorgeous pictures; Barry Moser's best imagined kid's book yet, really. The blues! the blacks! the menacing gold eyes! The stealthy yellow moon! The text is great by itself. The illustrations are great by themselves. But together, together, this is MAGIC! Gets my 5 stars. (And hey, I love moon books.)

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Exquisite & Magical

    A beautiful and beautifully written classic-in-the-making. I found myself rooting for Jam on his daring journey, and then holding my breath when things go awry. This delightful gem is sure to captivate young readers' imaginations as they experience the joy of discovering the story's multiple facets with each successive read.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2009

    Stunning! Writing and illustrations of "Once Upon a Twice."

    Children will love the delicious word play and breathlessly await
    the conclusion of Jam's adventure.

    Denise Doyen is a wordsmith! 5 stars for this brilliant evocative tale
    that kids can truly identify with.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2009

    Go no further!

    I can't wait to read this book to my nieces! It is an amazing tale that makes full use of inventive word-twists and beautiful visuals. As much fun for the reader, as for the listener. With so many picture books out there to chose from, this is the one not to miss!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 30, 2009

    Read-A-Loud Perfection

    I just read "Once Upon A Twice" to my 4 year old niece and 9 year old nephew. Let me re-phrase that: I just read and then, re-read "Once Upon A Twice" to my young niece and nephew. I had heard (through various grapevines) that this was the perfect book to read out loud and that it was chock-full of wonderful words (real and made-up), beautiful imagery and magical illustrations. But I had no idea just how much fun it would be to actually read it out loud to my young audience or that we would all delight so much in immediately re-reading it. "Once Upon A Twice" has all the elements to become a children's classic. It is a book to be treasured by young and old alike!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 17, 2009

    My new favorite word is...

    ..."Scoutaprowl". But then, what about "riskarascal in repose"? Or wait, my new favorite word is "whispercroon", or...or is it "shining dewels"?
    Doyen's evocative poetry coupled with Barry Moser's suspenseful imagery-- what's not to love?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2012

    Gg

    Cool

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  • Posted September 29, 2009

    You Will Find Yourself:

    Reading Once Upon A Twice.

    Rereading Once Upon A Twice.

    Putting Once Upon A Twice on your shelf, then taking it down before bedtime to read in bed with the lights turned low and the wind pulling at your curtains.

    Murmuring the rhymes under your breath, unaware that you are doing so.

    Walking to the rhythm of the language.

    Buying a copy of Once Upon A Twice for your children, and all of your friends, and all of your friends' children.

    What are you waiting for?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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