Once Upon an Hour

  • Illustrated By: Soyeon Kim
  • Pages:32
  • Publisher:Orca Book Publishers
  • Themes:Korean myths, twelve animals of the zodiac, learning to tell time, Asian culture, gender neutral
  • Pub Date:10/13/2020
  • Age Groups:Fiction Picture Book
  • Lexile:AD630L
  • Fountas & Pinnell Text Level Gradient:O
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Yu-Rhee, a young Korean girl, wants to know how to tell time using a clock.

Her mother tells her a tale from her childhood based on the traditional Korean practice of timekeeping, where the 12 animals of the zodiac are assigned to 2-hour sections of the 24-hour clock. Told from the point of view of a mountain, the story follows a child as they climb the mountainside in search of a plant to heal their ailing mother. The climb is steep, the path wild and the way difficult. The mountain watches the child struggle and calls on the animals that live on the mountainside to help the child, but as sunlight turns to moonlight, each animal claims to be too busy. Ultimately, Once Upon an Hour is a story about determination and teamwork that shows young readers the importance of helping others.

“A curious premise with captivating illustrations.”
– Kirkus Reviews
“The repetitive text here is soothing in cadence...Pleasing colours, and the winsome expressions on the face of the hopeful child make readers sympathetic to the situation.”
– CM: Canadian Review of Materials
“Illustrations which are inexplicably special…The timeless and universal message of helping others will resonate with listeners of this story whether young or old. This book needs to be part of an elementary school library as well as pre-school and home libraries. By using animals who are active at different times of the day to teach the concept of time, this folktale is especially memorable as well as useful.”
– Must Read Literature
BC Books for BC Schools   | 2021  |  Commended