cover image Once Upon Another Time

Once Upon Another Time

Matt Forrest Esenwine and Charles Ghigna, illus. by Andrés F. Landazábal. Beaming, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5064-6054-3

In upbeat rhyming couplets, Esenwine and Ghigna paint a portrait of the world pre-Anthropocene, offering descriptions of natural landscapes (“The land was fresh, the air was clean,/ the valleys lush with shades of green”) before comparing the contemporary world (“There were no drones or airplanes/ flying past a smoggy sun./ There were no phones or internet—/ the webs were spider-spun”). The book then transitions to the present, offering meditative sensory details and urging readers to center themselves in the natural world: “Leave behind the phones and screens,/ and take a step outdoors./ Breathe in air that once was shared/ by monstrous dinosaurs!” Landazábal adds landscapes in a dreamy, sponge-textured style that combines modern and retro influences. Though the authors’ argument feels a bit oversimplified, this is an evocative encouragement to experience the glory of nature. Ages 4–8. [em](Mar.) [/em]