Once Upon a Tim

S. & S. (Once Upon a Tim). Mar. 2022. 160p. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9781534499256.
Gr 3-5–A quest to save a princess turns out to be nothing like the fairy tales suggest. Narrated by Tim, a peasant boy with a surprisingly rich vocabulary and complete knowledge of all the things that don’t exist in his world, this romp follows Tim and his best friend Belinda, who seize the opportunity to join Prince Ruprecht and Court Magician Nerlim as they head off to rescue Princess Grace (who, it turns out, doesn’t actually need to be rescued). Along for the adventure are Ferkle the Village Idiot (only pretending because it’s the family business) and Rover, Tim’s Fr-dog (an enormous frog who was once a dog… oh, it’s a long story). The prince isn’t brave, the magician can only do card tricks, and the monster isn’t so very monstrous. Along with the enhanced vocabulary and extreme silliness, there is discussion of societal expectations. Some characters have brown skin on the full-color cover, but appear to have the same skin tone as cued white characters in the book's interior line art.
VERDICT Will kids understand all of the references? Possibly not, but the humor, enhanced by Quentin Blake-esque illustrations, will definitely find an audience with kids looking for a quick, funny read.

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