Half Upon A Time

Half Upon A Time

Book - 2011
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Baker & Taylor
Jack's family has been pushing him to find a princess, so when a young lady falls out of the sky wearing a "Punk Princess" shirt and tells Jack that her grandmother, who may be Snow White, has been kidnapped, he decides to help.

& Taylor

In the village of Giant's Hand Jack's grandfather has been pushing him to find a princess and get married, so when a young lady falls out of the sky wearing a shirt that says "Punk Princess," and she tells Jack that her grandmother, who looks suspiciously like the long-missing Snow White, has been kidnapped, Jack decides to help her.

Simon and Schuster
Jack lives in a fantasy world. Really. He's the son of the infamous Jack who stole the magic beans from the giant, and he's working hard to restore his family's reputation. He finds the perfect opportunity when a "princess" lands in front of him, apparently from the land of Punk, as her Punk Princess sweatshirt implies. May is from our world, and she's utterly confused to find herself in the midst of the fairy tale characters she has read about. But Jack and May have more in common than they realize--and together, they embark on a hilarious and wild adventre in this highly accessible, modern middle grade fantasy novel.

Publisher: New York : Aladdin, 2011, c2010
ISBN: 9781416995944
Branch Call Number: PB J FIC RIL
Characteristics: 385 p. ;,20 cm.


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Nov 14, 2017

A decent story with some fun elements and witty humour. Characters are so-so, plot is interesting but not strong and deliberate enough for me, and writing is pretty good. The sarcasm was superbly done. Not my favourite book. There needed to be more explanation about Jack's world and why the Wicked Queen pretended to be Snow White and why she was all "good" until the very end. I mean, who can hide their true evil psyche for that long? May lived with her, for the love of cheese! The characters also didn't have enough personality for me. Too flat, like pictures on a page. I like 'em in 3D! (Okay, I know I'm weird. Judge me. Why do I care?) The story was also left hanging at the end (oh, and, Jack was way too stupid, May too judgmental, and Phillip too perfect—seriously?). This book may be for some, but not for me. Too little-kiddish and confusing and unrealistic. The romance was also done truly TERRIBLY. I've seen a lot of better authors than James Riley (such as Stephenie Meyer, J.K. Rowling, Melanie Dickerson, Bryan Davis, Rick Riordan, Erin Hunter, and Kate O'Hearn).

Mar 09, 2017

The book, Half Upon a Time, is amazingly written by James Riley, with a mix of humour, mystery, deception and self-discovery. Each chapter is sure to make you smile, chuckle or die of laughter, with the occasional wonder of suspense and fear to keep it engaging. With diverse characters and a range of conflicts, Jack and May are left on a major journey to find out the truth of May’s background, connecting with the famous princess, Snow White. However, everything may not be as it seems, with the different twist and turns. Overall, this book is amazing for anybody around the age of 11 years and older. It’s engaging to anybody who loves fairy tale retellings or just a good laugh, with the sly and cunning characters. This book is the first one in the trilogy written by James Riley, continued with Twice Upon a Time and Once upon the end.
- @Because_Logic of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library

blue_bird_3915 Jan 29, 2017

this book is so good. I love the huge twist at the end

FindingJane Sep 07, 2016

This book takes all the old familiar märchen and gives them very lively spins. Allegiances shift in the blink of an eye so it’s hard to tell who is on whose side. Throw in a very reluctant hero, his spunky princess and an all-too-regal prince and the fun commences…and never stops.

Jack is the unlikeliest hero you’d ever find. He’s like a hobbit—he doesn’t like adventures and he certainly doesn’t like helping royalty. Never mind that his dad was the one who climbed that beanstalk in the first place. Oh, wait, maybe that’s the reason behind his reluctance to pass at hero-training.

When he meets May, a real princess, the sparks start flying. (Not those kind of sparks. They’re still kids, after all.) They bicker and banter in a way that’s charmingly delightful and yet irritating at once. But it’s a good kind of irritation, one that keeps you turning the pages as you wonder what these two will say and do next.

The story keeps you on your toes as their escapades careen from one perilous situation to another. But it’s not just random, pointless idiotic jaunts. These kids are on a Quest (even if none of them has called it that), one with serious ramifications for their entire world.

I have to make a small critique here, if I may. May is left at a loss at the end of this book and is determined to find out exactly who she is. But there are some really strong clues dropped in this story that let me know her real identity. I expect to find my conclusion borne out in the upcoming sequels. But don’t worry; I won’t spoil it for anyone else. But neither am I going to give you a spin job.

Good luck on your adventuring, kids.

violet_zebra_407 Aug 15, 2016

so awesome, i love fairy tale type stories, where the characters from all the classics come together! this is sooooo not that! i mean it is, but with more awesomeness also more sarcasm. witch i say ROCKS! read it!!!!!!

laikee Sep 30, 2014

Great book:)

Feb 27, 2014

Nice new twists and turns in the fairytale world. Love that Jack 13th, so funny. May, awesome and very "punk". And Phillip needs to see a doctor for his prince disease . . . all in all a very AWESOME ADVENTURE!

Jacksparrow69 Jan 15, 2014

AWSOME, Twice upon a time and once upon the end are just as good (once upon the end is the best). Love the cliffhangers

Apr 24, 2013

Modern girl travels to fairy tale land and gets Jack (the son of Jack & the Beanstalk's Jack) to help her rescue her grandmother, who might be the missing Snow White. An interesting take on what life would be like in a fairy tale world. Familiar characters like Red Riding Hood, Wicked Queen, Rapunzel, and the Huntsman are there, but the story plays out differently than the fairy tales and has a real-world perspective on fairy tale conventions. Very fun.

HemWeb2012 Mar 28, 2013

Our 7 year old daughter, who is new to reading English in Grade 2 loved this book and cannot wait for Twice Upon a Time to be released. This is the first chapter book she read cover to cover. She read it in four weeks and that month we did not have to ask her once to read her 15 minutes per day. It just happened. This book also inspired her to want to write in her school journal.

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Jacksparrow69 Jan 15, 2014

Jacksparrow69 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

Megi2001 Mar 04, 2013

Megi2001 thinks this title is suitable for 9 years and over

Nov 03, 2012

blue_jay_278 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

Jun 16, 2012

red_penguin_239 thinks this title is suitable for All Ages


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Nov 14, 2017

"Vegetables can be scary." - May

Jacksparrow69 Jan 16, 2014

``That's a pretty dress, Bertrand," Jack said as he left. ``Your mother must be so proud."


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Jack the son of the Jack who climbed the bean stalk, need's to rescue a prinsess, but there are no more unmarried prinsess's around, so it take's him totally by surprise when a prinsess fall's from the sky right in front of him!


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