Posted on May 10th, 2016 by pajamapress
“Wallace Edwards has done it again! The introduction to Once Upon a Line lets us know that the fantastical paintings in this book were created by Great-Uncle George using an enchanted pen from the East. He only had to draw a single curving line, and it would turn into a painting. Each page has an illustration incorporating that line and a start to a story, beginning with ‘Once upon a line,’ an obvious and intriguing reference to ‘Once upon a time.’ As with his other books, Edwards creates many levels of meaning by combining all that you see on the page in unexpected ways.
This is a great book for anyone with a wild imagination. On each page Wallace draws the reader into both the illustration and the words. Readers are challenged to find the “magic line” in each picture. In most cases, the story is different, not always exactly what is shown in the picture. For example, we get a dandy rat who loves his “brand new ultra-modern house,” a gleaming white toilet sitting among flowers. The words continue, “‘I have never had such a beautiful home before,’ he said. Just then, a little bird said…” This sentence could lead anywhere, and is an invitation to go somewhere new each time you read it.
Although each page has its own theme, there are a few where connections are made to the previous illustration. At the back of the book is a guide showing where the magical line is in each of the pictures, and a reminder that the enchanted pen is also in each one, too.
Once Upon a Line has all the marks of a Wallace Edwards gem: his distinctive style of illustration, humour, appealing characters and just enough information to get you started on your own story.”
This review originally appeared in the Spring 2016 edition of Canadian Children’s BookNews.