Once Upon a Golden Apple by Jean Little, Maggie De Vries, and Phoebe Gilman. Book Review.

This book seems like a good choice on which to end a month of “Once Upon A Time” stories.

The book begins with a father sitting under a tree with his daughter and son while mother carries away a squalling baby. Father reads, “Once upon a golden apple…” His children chorus, “No!” It continues with father mixing up characters from Snow White, Goldilocks and the three Bears, Read Riding Hood, Chicken Little, Sleeping Beauty, and more, even drawing upon Mother Goose rhymes.

Children would need to be very familiar with all of the stories and rhymes in their traditional forms. It could be a fun read if children are engaged in identifying which stories or Mother Goose selections are being referenced. It might be a useful tool for a teacher at the end of a literature unit on fairy tales. Otherwise, the story is disjointed, confusing, and even seems pointless to me.

The illustrations are bright and colorful, detailed and expressive. The layout is reminiscent of traditional fairytales.

With three such amazing children’s picture book writers and illustrators, I expected more. It’s worth a look but it’s not a book I would read and reread to a child.

BUY Once Upon a Golden Apple: 25th Anniversary Edition (Picture Puffins)


Bonnie Ferrante: Books For All Ages


2 thoughts on “Once Upon a Golden Apple by Jean Little, Maggie De Vries, and Phoebe Gilman. Book Review.

  1. Ms. Ferrante: I have written my second book. I am looking for an editor to critique my book. It’s a picture story book for kids 3-10 year olds. It’s called Tiana’s Nightly Dreams: Teakettle City’s First Cultural Tea Party. You can see a snapshot of the characters here: http://www.teakettlecity.com
    Thank you for considering my request.
    Herman Morris Jr


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