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Book Reviews Once there was a boy

Once there was a boy Hot

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Once there was a boy

A glimpse of the illustrations and a read of Dub Leffler's intention (see blurb)  were enough to catch the attention of My Book Corner.  I really enjoyed sharing this one with my children tonight.

My Book Corner loves the opening page which sets the scene so perfectly; the boy on an island, on his own ... surrounded by a vibrant turquoise blue sea.

The boy meets a young girl who suddenly appears on the island.  She is told not to look under the bed.  The illustrations and accompanying text as she goes closer and eventually opens the forbidden box are suitably constructed to build a gentle tension which is perfect for this age group.

The reconciliation at the close of the book is beautiful, the accompanying sunset depicted in beautiful orange and yellows visually communicate the happy ending.  At a very basic level this is a book about sharing, but there are many more delicate layers to Once there was a boy and that is why My Book Corner has fallen in love with it.

I liked the unpredictability of this story's format; some pages contain just pictures, some just a few words and some are filled with a beautifully written paragraph.  Through out these pages the story flows gently, like the sea it depicts on many of those pages, a restrictive rhyme and rhythm is just not needed here.

Described by Anita Heiss as "possibly the most beautiful book I have had the pleasure of holding and reading this year" this is a book for sharing, for keeping and for enjoying with your child.

Read our interview with Dub Leffler here - LOVE his favourite word!

Bookish News & Offers

The Essentials

Publisher Blurb
"I wrote Once to show kids that boys have feelings too (just like girls) and that sometimes those feelings can get hurt and that's okay; especially when you're willing to let your friends help when you're feeling sad."

Nitty Gritty


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Your reviews

Average user rating from: 2 user(s)

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Once there was a boy 2014-04-24 22:11:13 Monika
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Reviewed by Monika    April 25, 2014

Simple yet stunning

I cried the first time I read this. The text and illustrations are simple, but SO effective.
I have used this book to teach my class of three year olds about feelings; identifying sadness, hurt, shame, happiness and love. The message of this story and the images of Dub's artwork are both subtle and powerful. And my class got it!
Thankyou for such a beautifully crafted book.

Owner's reply

Hi Monika,

Am absolutely delighted that Dub Leffler's wonderful picture book continues to give so much pleasure. It has a special place on my bookshelf here.


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Once there was a boy 2012-01-21 05:47:39 Jodie
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Reviewed by Jodie    January 21, 2012


Buy this book as much for the gorgeous art as for the touching story. Great for boys who may have experienced a loss or who are struggling with strong emotions. I love that this author has purposely targeted boys and feelings with this book. Beautiful work!

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