cover image Once There Was

Once There Was

Corinne Demas, illus. by Gemma Capdevila. Cameron Kids, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-951836-65-8

In this tale that highlights the world’s natural beauty, a girl with light skin and flowing brown locks embarks on a flight of fancy, dreaming a series of interconnected scenarios in Demas’s cumulative-style fairy tale. Each segment of the outing begins with the titular phrase and indicates a progression from the child into the natural world. A girl who resides in a seaside cottage dreams she’s a princess “in a golden gown/ who lived in a castle/ in a misty forest.” The princess then dreams of being a horse, the horse dreams of being a tree, the tree dreams of being a mountain, and eventually a sea dreams that she is a little girl, circling back to the protagonist. Capdevila’s wispy landscapes nail the book’s ethereal mood while capturing awe-inspiring wilderness details including whales, snow-capped mountains, and crisp evergreens. The graceful blend of text and image offers readers a mind-expanding escape. Ages 5–7. (May)