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The Once Upon a TIme Map Book by BG Hennessy with illustrations by Peter Joyce

The Once Upon a Time Map Book by BG Hennessy with illustrations by Peter Joyce caught my attention right away.  It has two of my favorite things - maps and fairy tales - all wrapped up in one!  As the opening page of the books says, "Come on a tour of six magical Once Upon a Time Lands.  You will have a map and directions for each land. Around each map are letters and numbers to help you find your way.  A compass shows the directions of  north, south, east and west.  A key identifies local routes and distances.  There are treasures hidden in each land. See if you can find all six."

Besides being a gorgeous, fun picture book, The Once Upon a Time Map Book actually teaches children how to read a map by giving coordinates for key sites on the maps.  In Neverland you can moor your boat in Mermaid Cove (E1) the take the path from Crocodile wap to Pirate River (E3)  If you head two Pirate miles west, you will find a waterfall (D3).  There is a key that shows you what length two Pirate miles is, as well as delineates the various paths on the island.   There are also seven hidden Lost Boys and a treasure chest to find!

In addition to Neverland, readers get to visit Oz, Wonderland, the kingdom of the Giant from Jack & the Beanstalk, Aladdin's Kingdom and finally the enchanted forest of Snow White.  Each map features a tour of the land and points of interest on the left with the directions to places of interest, a key and, always, hidden goodies to find, on the right.

The superb website Open Wide, Look Inside, which is dedicated to sharing ways to integrate children's across the curriculum with an emphasis in math, science and social studies, has a great post on how to use the book in an educational way.  And, in the comment field, BG Hennessy herself posted a thank you and sneak peek - she has begun the sequel, The Very Scary Places Map Book!

How would I use this book with my kids?  I would pick a favorite picture book of ours, maybe The Jolly Postman by Janet and Alan Ahlberg or Merle the Flying Squirrel by Bill Peet, something with a fair amount of geographical range and interesting character.  Then we would go over the story, figure out the places and distances and map it out on a grid and color it in. Next, I think we might make a map of our house or even a map of my son's room.  After that, I would hide something in his room (chocolate coins, of course) and give him some coordinates and set him loose with his map.  Actually, I really like this idea a lot.  Seeing as how I am working full time this summer while my husband is having his first summer vacation (he's a teacher) without a job EVER, I think I will suggest this activity to him!


We have and love this book too! I really like your idea of mapping out the locations in another favourite book.
B. G. Hennessy said…
I love google alerts because I get to see all the neat things people are doing with my books! You might be interested in the Teacher-Parent Guide to THE ONCE UPON A TIME MAP BOOK. You can find it on on my website: I can't recall if it is under the Fun Stuff tab or the Parent-Teacher section. I also have to thank you for the mention of the Miss Rumphius Effect blog- I was the Art Director for that book. Barbara Cooney and I worked on several books together. In fact, fo a real bit of book trivia, my three sons modeled for her illustrations for THE REMARKABLE CHRISTMAS OF THE COBBLER'S SONS.

Happy Travels!
B.G Hennessy
Tanya said…
WOW!! How amazing to have worked with Barbara Cooney, and to have your children immortalized in one of her wonderful books! Thanks for reading my blog, the tip about the teacher/parent guide and thanks especially for writing such a fabulous, fabulous book! Can't wait to see the Very Scary Places book! Hope you will work with Peter Joyce again - his art work is perfect!
B. G. Hennessy said…
Sadly, Peter Joyce's health will not permit his illustrating the next book. The good news is that Erwin Madrid has agrred to do the maps. Erwin did many of the set paintings for Shrek and has a terrific sense of place and lighting that will be perfect for THE VERY SCAREY PLACES MAP BOOK.
Tanya said…
Well wishes for Peter Joyce. I am glad you found an artist you are happy to work with - the book will be great, I am sure!

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