Once Upon a Line cover

By Wallace Edwards & Wallace Edwards

Once Upon a Line

A family discovers a trunk of old paintings by Uncle George, each drawn from a single line using an enchanted pen. Wallace Edwards explores storytelling through a single line that grows into a new image and story on each page, inspiring readers to finish the simple stories or come up with their own.

One rainy night, Wally’s family finds an old steamer trunk in the attic. Inside is a pile of paintings drawn from a single line from an enchanted pen. They could only belong to Uncle George, who believed that all stories begin with one line and a rich imagination.

Award-winning author and illustrator Wallace Edwards explores the world of storytelling through a single pen line that grows into an image and the first line of a new story. Readers will be inspired to finish the simple stories that begin with Once Upon a Line or use the enchanted story line to tell their own unique tale. A key at the end of the book identifies the single line that is at the core of each image.

An absorbing book filled with paintings rich in detail and color.

Available In


Ages 6-9
ISBN: 978-1927485-78-1
List Price: $19.95 CAD / $17.95 USD
Hardback with picture book & reinforced binding & with printed dust jacket
Trim Size: 9.50 x 11.00 inches / 24.13 x 27.94cm
Pages: 32

Distributed in Canada by University of Toronto Press

Distributed in the U.S. by Ingram Publisher Services

Carton Quantity: 24

About this book

Awards and Honours

  • 2016 Best Books for Kids & Teens Starred Selection (Winner) (Canada)



Praise for Once Upon a Line

2016 Canadian Children’s Book Centre Best Books for Kids & Teens Starred Selection

“This interactive, imaginative book…is a charming reminder of the importance of a single line, and the fun of the creative process.”—Booklist

“The colorful, absurd, detailed illustrations feature a fantastical array of characters – many of them anthropomorphic animals – in an intriguing style that defies easy classification….The artwork is captivating, finding the pen stroke is challenging, and the text will spark some animated conversation.”—Kirkus Reviews

“By themselves, the funny pictures will amuse readers; going further, the situations should inspire creative writing.”—School Library Journal

“The test of any high-concept book is the execution and Edwards totally pulls it off, creating a sort of If On A Winter’s Night A Traveller for the under-10 set.”—The Globe and Mail

“Highly recommended for classroom libraries, creative writing classes, rainy afternoon entertainment and more. This book whets the creative mind’s appetite and begs its satisfaction. Each illustration can tell a thousand stories if the mind allows it. A masterpiece!”—Resource Links

“The latest visual feast from Wallace Edwards is designed to spur the imagination of young readers (and older ones, too)…. From a knight riding an octopus to a gaggle of laughing alligators, there’s no shortage of silliness here to inspire raucous bedtime yarns.”—Quill & Quire

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.”—Canadian Children’s Book News

“Edwards’ work is an educator’s delight as it offers countless instructional opportunities in storytelling, creative writing, and visual arts…Highly Recommended”—CM Magazine

“…Governor General’s Award-winning author and illustrator, Wallace Edwards, artfully explores the question, “Where do stories come from?” This beguiling picture book[’s] sophisticated watercolour and coloured pencil illustrations demand close inspection…Fire up your imagination and journey to the inspired worlds that are created in Once Upon a Line.”—The National Reading Campaign

“This would be a good book to use with a creative writing class. Children who like to write stories will enjoy the ‘story starters.’”—Youth Services Book Reviews

“Teachers will now be scrambling to use Once Upon a Line…as the go-to book for story-starters and creative writing projects based on intriguingly unique illustrations that get the creative juices flowing…Once Upon a Line is resplendent in its fantastical graphic details.”—CanLit for LittleCanadians


Additional Resources



Teaching Guide

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