Home » Book » ONCE UPON A MEMORY by Nina Laden


3338566As the cover’s soft drawing is peaceable, so, too, are the words inside.  Nina Laden has poetically written a lullaby as well as a ponderable rhyming text.

Ms. Laden begins with “Does a feather remember it once was…” on the left page.  The drawing, by Renata Liwska, shows a boy picking up a feather that has blown in to the room through an open window.  On the right page of the open book reads, “…a bird?”   The drawing on this side shows birds in a barber shop getting a feather-cut, feathers on the floor.   The next set of pages reads, “Does a book remember it once was…” picturing the boy with a book on his lap, followed by “…a word?”  The softly colored scene is a bookstore.  Bird and word rhyme, beginning the cadence that is carried throughout this sweet book.

I must share my favorite double page for it brings a delightful childhood memory to my mind:  “Does work remember it once was…” (the boy is raking Fall leaves into a pile).  Across the page is “…play?” and raccoons are jumping in the freshly raked pile of leaves.  As a child, I did just this…raked the leaves up in our neighbor’s yard in Virginia only to run and jump in it.  All of the kids in the neighborhood took turns raking and we all jumped into the red, yellow, orange and brown leaves!

The illustrations are soft sketches with details that keep the eye wandering.  Some of the boy’s toy animals come to life in parts of the book too, making it fun to spy one doing something fun.  Ms. Liwska sketched these drawings in her artist’s journal.  They were then scanned and colored in Adobe PhotoShop.

This is a simple book to read with so much to observe, to think about, and to remember from one’s own past.  It is a book that allows one’s imagination to delve into other possibilities, other favorite things.  It’s sure to be a favorite for young and old alike.  Our minds need to recall these childhood memories too.

Reading Level: 3 – 6 Years

Nina Laden is an award-winning, bestselling children’s book author and illustrator, living Washington state.  She grew up in the New York City area, the daughter of two artists, and received a BFA from Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts. She has over a dozen books in print including two board books, Peek-A Zoo! and Daddy Wrong Legs, just published March, 2014.  Peek-A-Zoo! is a sequel to Peek-A Who? (over a million copies sold) with more to follow in that series.  Ms. Laden authored and illustrated The Night I Followed the Dog, When Pigasso Met Mootisse, and Roberto: The Insect Architect, and Button Nose.  You can find her @ www.ninaladen.com.

Renata Liwska has been drawing for as long as she can remember.  The children’s book illustrations she creates today are influenced by memories from her own childhood. She is the illustrator of the New York Times best sellers, The Quiet Book and The Loud Book!, and The Christmas Quiet Book (all of which were authored by Deborah Underwood).  Ms. Liwska is author-illustrator of Little Panda and The Red Wagon. Originally from Warsaw, Poland, Renata now lives in Calgary with her husband, Mike.  You can find her @ www.renataliwska.com.

Book Information

  • ISBN-13: 9780316208161
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 12/3/2013
  • Pages: 40
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Originally reviewed 4-5-2014


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