We have recently become Parragon Book Buddies and last week we received an early Christmas present, a fantastic new Parragon book to review. The Mini Reviewers were of course very excited to tear off the paper and we sat down to read it immediately...
Written by David Bedford and illustrated by Rosie Reeve, Once Upon A Time... Online is a fairytale with a difference. There are already quite a few clever stories about that offer a new take on traditional fairytales. However, Once Upon A Time... Online really sets itself apart from the rest. Not only is it a fun, rhyming story, it also educates your littlest bookworms about online safety.
Now, online safety is something I often think about but rarely act upon. Mini Reviewer, Izzie, has recently turned 5 and often "plays" with my phone and tablet. Ideally she is always supervised but sometimes, when I am cooking or distracted by potty training fiascos (don't ask!), I admit I do not watch her as closely as perhaps I should.
So, if like me, you want to discuss online safety with your children but don't know where to begin, then this book makes a great conversation starter. It raises important issues without being too serious and its main message is simple and straightforward, ask before you go online!
The story itself is set in Fairytale Land. When a laptop falls from the sky, the fairytale characters soon discover the ups and downs of the online world. Cinderella faces a very long bill after too much online shopping; the Three Little Pigs are bored because the Big Bad Wolf is busy gaming; and Rapunzel is unable to talk to her Prince because of a technical glitch! They are all reluctant to keep using the new technology until the Fairy Godmother shows them that, with a little guidance, there is still a lot of fun to be had online.
The story is full of humour and the illustrations are delightful. Parragon's website states the book is suitable for ages 3-6 years old. However, although both Izzie (5) and Theo (nearly 3) really enjoyed the story, I think some of the humour was lost on them. I, on the other hand, found the story hilarious and it is certainly one I will happily read over and over again. This is possibly because I identify with Little Red Riding Hood who clumsily trips over some brambles because her eyes are glued to the map on her phone screen. Or perhaps because like Cinderella, I too have had a surprise bill from a spot of (late night) online shopping!
As you can see, Izzie took her reviewer role very seriously. When asked what she thought of the book, she said that she liked the pictures and her favourite part was when The Fairy Godmother showed Rapunzel how to look for new hairstyles using her tablet. She now has grand hairdressing plans for the rest of the Christmas holidays so wish us luck!
We would like to thank Parragon for sending us a copy of Once Upon A Time... Online (RRP £6.99). It is certainly a read we would recommend and we look forward to reviewing more Parragon books in the new year.
*Disclaimer: We received a copy of this book for the purpose of review and this post contains affiliate links. However all opinions are, as always, our own.