Once Upon a Star


James Carter launches us into the solar system in ‘Once Upon a Star’. This is a tour-de-force of descriptive, rhyming poetry and facts, with bold, blasting pictures by Mar Hernández. This artist, new to Bookwagon, creates symbolic illustrations and word pictures that elevate the wonder of the story told.

From the giant explosion that cools to create our solar system, we celebrate the emergence of Earth, ‘with skies so wide and oceans blue’. Thereafter we watch life swim, crawl and fly. All the time, our sun delights us, growing our food, offering us light and warmth. It’s ‘at the heart of everything’. 

Once Upon a Star is a ‘forever’ book, one to grow with the reader. James Carter describes the path of existence so creatively. He concludes his book with ‘sciencey stuff‘ to consolidate his descriptions. Once Upon a Star will be appreciated in any arena; from bedtime to independent reading, from science learning to the classroom library.

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Once Upon a Star

James Carter and Mar Hernández

(Little Tiger Press)

Once Upon a Star is a journey through space to our sun. Our travel is poetic, with rhyming, descriptive words. Interwoven by expressive pictures from Mar Hernández, we feel propelled, amazed and awed.
This is the story of our sun. When ‘the great explosion burst EVERYTHING!’ all matter needed time to cool. Seas of stars formed in clouds of dust and gas… The way James Carter builds the story emphasises the might, wonder and infinity of all that occurred and continues to evolve. We love his word craft, as experienced in Once Upon a Raindrop also. Then again, the way the pictures burst upon the page so as to highlight James Carter’s information? It feels as though we’re learning alongside celebrating the wealth of wonder within which we live. In fact, the poet’s own awe at our existence, at life on Earth is highlighted in the pin prick, perfect spot spick word play.
Altogether, Once Upon a Star is a beautiful book, complex in subject and creation. Then again, it is deceptively simple, approachable and enthralling. Bookwagon is proud to introduce this title to our readers.


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