ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Once Upon a Space-Time’

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Once Upon a Space-Time

Once Upon a Space-Time, published by Random House Graphics, is written and illustrated by Jeffery Brown. In the year 2206 aliens visit the earth. They bring technology that catapults humanity further into space than ever before. Now the friendly alien Tobey searches for a select group of humans to be the first to accompany him to a new colony on Mars. But Tobey has decided that adults are too whiny. So a search will be conducted for the most qualified kids. Accompanied by legendary explorer Commander Gusevich (you cant send kids into space without ANY adult supervision), the two gifted youngsters will set off on a once in a lifetime adventure.

Once Upon a Space-Time is a fun little romp that will take young readers into the stars, introducing them to friendly aliens, interesting concepts, all while sprinkling in some actual science for them to learn. While the lighthearted humor of the book flows fairly consistently I can’t help but feel the story plays it a little too safe for its own good.

Despite traveling to Mars and meeting friendly aliens it doesn’t feel like a lot really happens in Once Upon a Space-Time. Everything goes so smoothly in the book that it eventually comes to feel a bit boring. Now, I’m obviously not the intended target demographic here, and maybe the quirky personalities and light puns would be enough to keep a child interested in the 250 pages of this book, but it just doesn’t seem like it would. As a sit-down and reading it in one sitting, while easily done, probably isn’t the best way to consume this story.Once Upon a Space-TimeAs a children’s book goes however Once Upon a Space-Time does an excellent job of talking to the reader in a clear, and easily digestible manner. Brown presents concepts of math and science without dumbing it down completely. This gives the book a genuine quality beyond just storytelling. I liked seeing this level of book not shying away from concepts like relativity and space travel. Even if the children don’t completely get it, something has to start them asking questions. Once Upon a Space-Time is far from the worst way for that to happen.

Brown’s illustrations are also simple and clear. They reflect the quirky humor of the story nicely. The various aliens are all interesting visually, making them a match for their unique personalities. Along with the aliens, much of the technology also has a unique look and feel to it. I especially liked the starship the group eventually acquires, aptly named Potato.

When all is said and done Once Upon a Space-Time delivers an enjoyable tale of kids getting to explore space. Filled with friendly characters, lighthearted humor, and some genuine science the story has a lot to offer. As long as the reader isn’t looking for anything exciting, this book has plenty of fun and humor to offer a young audience.

Once Upon a Space-Time is currently scheduled to be released on June 20th.


Once Upon a Space-Time
3.5

TL:DR

When all is said and done Once Upon a Space-Time delivers an enjoyable tale of kids getting to explore space. Filled with friendly characters, lighthearted humor, and some genuine science the story has a lot to offer. As long as the reader isn’t looking for anything exciting, this book has plenty of fun and humor to offer a young audience.