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Once There Was a Story

Tales from Around the World, Perfect for Sharing

Illustrated by Jane Dyer



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About The Book

From beloved author Jane Yolen and acclaimed illustrator Jane Dyer a collection of thirty stories from around the world, perfect for sharing and for bedtime.

This collection of well-known and not-so-well known stories, fairy tales, folk tales, and fables from Russia to Africa to Korea and beyond includes magic tales, homey tales, and animal tales.

As Jane Yolen says in her introduction, “These are stories that are short, full of remarkable characters, infinitely retellable, and fit for children between three and five years of age. I hope—as you read them with a child on your lap, or snuggled next to you in bed, or sitting with young friends at your feet, their eager faces falling under the story’s spell—I hope that you love the stories as well as they do.”

About The Author

Photograph by Jason Stemple
Jane Yolen

Jane Yolen is an award-winning author who has written more than 380 books for children, including the bestseller How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? and the 1988 Caldecott Medal winner Owl Moon. She is known for her beautiful poetry, picture books, fairy tales, novels, and nonfiction, and has even been called “the Hans Christian Andersen of America” (Newsweek). She lives in Hatfield, Massachusetts. Visit her at

About The Illustrator

Jane Dyer

Jane Dyer is the illustrator of many books for children, including When Mama Comes Home TonightSophie’s Masterpiece by Eileen Spinelli, Roly Poly by Mem Fox, and the New York Times bestselling Cookies series by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. She lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books (November 21, 2017)
  • Length: 160 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781416971726
  • Ages: 4 - 8
  • Lexile ® 770L The Lexile reading levels have been certified by the Lexile developer, MetaMetrics®

Raves and Reviews

"This beautiful volume offers a selection of the folktales and fairy tales that are just right for sharing with preschool and primary-grade children....a pleasure to read and share. From gouache paintings depicting scenes from the stories to the small black-and-white silhouettes that appear after the closing rhymes, Dyer’s lively illustrations appear on almost every page and depict both human and animal characters with energy, warmth, and grace. A fine source of tales for reading aloud." — Booklist

– Booklist Online, Nov 30, 2017

Beginning with a heartfelt introduction about the magic of reading aloud, this handsome collection includes retellings of well- and lesser-known fairy tales and fables and two brand new stories written by Yolen. Representing 15 countries around the globe, the 30 offerings are divided into sections: “Homey Tales,” such as “The Gingerbread Man” and “The Old Woman and Her Pig”; “Very Best Beastly Tales” includes “The Lion and the Mouse” and “Plip, Plop”; and “Tales of Magic Makers,” which contains “The Golden Goose” and “Brave Marietta.” Specifically designed for a younger audience, the font is large and easily readable, there is plenty of white space, and the language is accessible. The tales are well chosen for their sly humor, memorable characters, and wise lessons. The realistically drawn illustrations are done in gouache and colored pencils and beautifully introduce every entry. The use of additional spot art throughout makes for a visual treat. Readers and listeners will enjoy discovering new details during repeat visits. VERDICT The combination of clever retellings and vibrant artwork makes these old tales fresh and inviting. A recommended purchase for libraries looking to brighten up their folktale collections.

– School Library Journal, February 1, 2018

Awards and Honors

  • Anne Izard Storytellers' Choice Award (NY)
  • Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year Selection Title

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More books from this author: Jane Yolen

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