Once Upon a Fairytale
Natalia and Lauren O’Hara
Macmillan Children’s Books
This is the fourth collaboration between the O’Hara sisters, author Natalia and Lauren, illustrator.
It’s a ‘choose you own fairytale adventure’ that really does put child readers centre stage as they decide the direction in which the story goes at almost every turn of the page.
Things start peacefully enough in fairyland with the land being ruled by a wise, kind Queen; but then comes a messenger to the door of the first character of the reader’s choice with some terrible news. “A villain has put a curse on the realm and done something outrageous: you might choose turning ‘all the babies into pigs’, ‘the mums and dads into rocks’, ‘the Queen and court to birds and bugs’ or ‘our dinners into socks’. Her royal highness needs a hero to set forth, fight and defeat the villain and break the curse.
Now’s the time for whichever character the reader selected – maybe a friendly gingerbread man, a kindly farm girl or a jolly woodcutter’s son – to sally forth clad in a scarlet cloak.
Thereafter said character has the opportunity to dine with gnomes upon gold bars sprinkled with rubies, or indulge in roast stars, mashed snow cloud and fresh-buttered sunbeams at the fairies’ table.
You’ll plunge into rivers, climb mountains, fly through the air and creep through a dark wood to reach the villain’s abode; but what about defeating that villain – I wonder …
Superbly interactive with hundreds of possible combinations, this captivating magical book is an empowering springboard to encourage young readers to let their imaginations soar off to that once upon a time world of fairyland, creating a new and exciting adventure every time they pick up this book.
Alongside those exciting words of Natalia are Lauren’s bold, exquisitely detailed illustrations making the whole experience sheer joy. Perhaps later with creative juices flowing, children will want to start writing/drawing their own fairytales. You never know they might even be so inspired that one day, like the O’Hara sisters, they will start delving into the works of Joseph Campbell and Vladimir Propp. Till then, happy story-creating from this latest spellbinding O’Hara offering.