Once Upon a Memory by Nina Laden and Illustrated by Renata Liwska
Once Upon a Memory
Keep This Picture Book Close to Your Heart
Once Upon a Memory, written by Nina Laden and illustrated by Renata Liwska (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, $17.00; eBook, $9.99, Ages 3-6) is reviewed today by Cathy Ballou Mealey.
I fell head over heels in love with this book from my first glance at the cover – the entire cover – so flip this book over after you have studied the image above. A little bear watches a feather dangling from a squirrel’s fishing pole, thus introducing the book’s first charming line: “Does a feather remember it once was … a bird?”
Gentle rhyming couplets draw the reader through a wondrous, daydreaming journey that touches upon memory as well as natural and philosophical transitions. Although that sounds rather high-falutin, the book is perfectly pitched to young readers as well as the young at heart, pushing at the edges of natural curiosity and whimsy. “Does a chair remember it once was … a tree?”
The illustrations are soft, lovely and endearing. Liwska’s details carry a tender repeating theme throughout the book, bearing the images from the “before” question to the “after” answer in captivating ways. Splashes of warm, rusty reds and nutty browns enhance the rich images perfectly sized to reflect the tiny kernel of the initial question on the left page to the broad imagining of its answer on the right.
Are you still curious about the back cover? Here it has become night, and our friend the little bear is now jotting his thoughts into a journal by the light of a firefly cloud. What do you suppose he is writing?
This is a quiet, cozy read perfect for the child whose pockets are filled with pebbles, feathers and other curious treasures. It is a lovely poem for little ones who often ask Why? How? and What if? Once Upon a Memory is a wonderful springboard for capturing snippets of childhood musings within the delightful journey of its pages.
– Reviewed by Cathy Ballou Mealey
Where Obtained: I received a review copy from the publisher and received no other compensation. The opinions expressed here are my own.