Children’s Book Reviews

Children's Book Reviews: Once Upon a Line

Publish January 19, 2016

Once Upon a Line, by Governor General’s Award-winning author and illustrator, Wallace Edwards, artfully explores the question, “Where do stories come from?”  This beguiling picture book opens with a brief note describing the curious contents of an old steamer trunk belonging to Great-Uncle George, while a vintage portrait of the moustachioed magician and artist gazes directly at the reader.  Twenty five of his surreal paintings, all originating from the same squiggly-drawn line, are included, along with enticingly open-ended, story-starter sentences.   Children will pore over strange scenes, such as an elephant sailing on the ocean in an upturned umbrella, and delight in finishing the tale that cryptically begins with: “Once upon a line, it finally stopped raining.  It was then that the seagull told an amazing story.” Wallace Edwards’ sophisticated watercolour and coloured pencil illustrations demand close inspection.  Many visual jokes are on display, like a foppish mouse showing off his new “ultra-modern” toilet house,   an armoured knight heading out to the battlefield atop an octopus, and a dinosaur hatching from a balloon bouquet. In Edwards’ trademark style, there are several hidden objects to discover in every drawing, including George’s fountain pen and the recurring pen stroke that launches each fanciful new “storyline.”  Fire up your imagination and journey to the inspired worlds that are created in Once Upon a Line.

Once Upon a Line

Wallace Edwards
Pajamas Press
ISBN 13: 978-2-927485-78-1

Linda Ludke
Linda Ludke

Linda Ludke is a librarian at London Public Library.  Her reviews have appeared in Quill and QuireSchool Library Journal and CM:  Canadian Review of Materials.  When she’s not reading and writing she also loves searching for vintage treasures.

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