CM . . .
. Volume XX Number 26. . . .March 7, 2014
Once Upon a Memory follows the daily pursuits of a young boy while he plays in a garden, frolics on a beach, and sleeps in his bed at night after a day full of interesting activities. Underneath these activities is the message that all of the objects and living beings he encounters once had a simpler or different origin. For instance, the feather that drifts into the boy's room was originally part of a bird. One of the final scenes shows the boy as an adult, fondly examining his old toys with his own children, while the text asks if the reader remembers what it was like to be a child. The final page contains a list of favourite memories from the author and illustrator and asks the reader (assumed to be an adult) to reflect on his or her fondest memories from childhood.
The illustrations are reminiscent of the Golden books from the 20th century, adding to the nostalgic feel. In shades of muted blues and greens, the drawings are rich in detail. Children will be drawn to the anthropomorphized animals. The manner in which the illustrations are centred on the page, with hazy edges, evokes a sense of looking through a lens, as if one were revisiting the past through rose-coloured glasses. In this way, the text and the illustrations are cleverly tied together to give an overall impression of wistfulness and dreaminess.
Roxy Garstad is the Collections Assessment Librarian at MacEwan University in Edmonton, AB.