Once Upon A Time (apa)

Once Upon a Time

& The Children’s Fantasy Special Interest Group
of The Mythopoeic Society

Once Upon a Time apa

Once Upon a Time apa


illustration by Sylvia Hunnewell, & used by permission

Once Upon a Time is an “apa,”* or “amateur press association,” sponsored by the Mythopoeic Society, devoted to Children’s Fantasy literature. The O.E. [Official Editor] is Laura Krentz, lkrentz@visi.com. Contact Laura for more information or to request a sample mailing.

Unlike the other Mythopoeic Society apa (Butterbur’s Woodshed, devoted to Adult Fantasy), OUaT does not have set topics for each issue. We simply raise a point for discussion and see who responds in the next issue(s). Recently, one of our members has announced that he’s reading and planning to discuss Eleanor Cameron’s The Seed and the Vision in a forthcoming ‘zine, and one or two other members have indicated that they will join him in this discussion. But more usually, someone will reminisce about reading a book as a child, or tell of reading a book to a child recently, and other members will chime in with their comments over the next few issues. There is also a certain amount of personal chit-chat, as in a personal letter, and this in turn occasions some comment as members get to know one another. But that’s characteristic of in-person discussion groups, too. Many of the members review the books that they have been reading, especially new books. This, too, inspires some discussion. In the past we’ve had good discussions of the works of Diana Wynne Jones, Carol Kendall, Jane Yolen, Margaret Mahy, L.M. Boston, the Oz books, the art of several illustrators, and many other topics in the area of Children’s books and fantasy.

2 Harry Potter Panels in the Twin Cities, MN
November 20, 2002 WEDNESDAY, 2:15 p.m.,
at The U of MN Andersen Library (west bank Minneapolis campus):

a panel discussion of the Harry Potter books and related issues at the U of M, with the Children’s Literature Research Collections, Panelists include author Peg Kerr (The Wild Swans), Prof. Lee Galda (University of Minnesota College of Education) and Brian Landon, English and Film Studies student. Co-sponsored with the Children’s Literature Research Collections of the University Libraries.

April 7, 2001 at the Southdale Public Library

(7001 York Ave. S. Edina, MN 55435 952-847-5900),

1:30 p.m.

a panel discussion featuring experts on and writers of children’s fantasy.

Children’s Fantasy since Tolkien

Panelists were (pictured at the table in this order, left to right):

Laura Krentz, a Hennepin County children’s librarian and coordinator of the Children’s Fantasy bi-monthly correspondence circular, Once Upon a Time.
Caroline Stevermer, author of River Rats and several other novels, including her latest book, When the King Comes Home.
Peg Kerr, author of the VOYA-reviewed novels Emerald House Rising and The Wild Swans. Peg has also taught at the University of Minnesota.
Claire Lenander, an 11-year-old member of the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award committee.

This program was co-sponsored by the Southdale Public Library, the Rivendell Group of the Mythopoeic Society and The Minnesota Science Fiction Society (Minn-Stf).

Mythopoeic Fantasy Award News

June 2007.
MFA Awards Administrator Ellie Farrell has announced the 2007 finalists (books from 2006):
for Children’s Literature

Catherine Fisher, CORBENIC (Greenwillow)

Nina Kiriki Hoffman, SPIRITS THAT WALK IN SHADOW (Viking)

Diana Wynne Jones, THE PINHOE EGG (Greenwillow)

Martine Leavitt, KETURAH AND LORD DEATH (Front Street)

Terry Pratchett, WINTERSMITH (HarperTeen)

August 2006.

MFA Awards Administrator Ellie Farrell has announced the 2006 Award to Jonathan Stroud, for The Bartimaeus Trilogy: The Amulet of Samarkand, The Golem’s Eye and Ptolemy’s Gate.

August 2005.

MFA Awards Administrator Ellie Farrell has announced the 2005 Award to Terry Pratchet, for A HAT FULL OF SKY

August 2004.

MFA Awards Administrator Ellie Farrell has announced the 2004 Award to Clare Dunkle, for THE HOLLOW KINGDOM (Holt)
May 2004.

MFA Awards Administrator Ellie Farrell has announced the 2004 finalists (books from 2003):

Here, in alphabetical order by author, are the final 2004 nominees for the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children’s Literature.

*Kate DiCamillo, THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX (Candlewick Press)
*Clare Dunkle, THE HOLLOW KINGDOM (Holt)
*Cornelia Funke, INKHEART, translated from German by Anthea Bell (The Chicken House)
*Shannon Hale,THE GOOSE GIRL (Bloomsbury USA)
*Terry Pratchett, THE WEE FREE MEN (HarperCollins)

August 2003.

MFA Awards Administrator Ellie Farrell has announced the 2003 Award to Michael Chabon, for Summerland.

May 2003.

MFA Awards Administrator Ellie Farrell has announced the 2003 finalists (books from 2002):

*Holly Black, TITHE: A MODERN FAERIE TALE (Simon & Schuster)
*Michael Chabon, SUMMERLAND (Miramax)
*Nancy Farmer, HOUSE OF THE SCORPION (Atheneum)
*Neil Gaiman, CORALINE (HarperCollins)
*Vivian Vande Velde, HEIR APPARENT (Harcourt)

August 2002.

MFA Awards Administrator Ellie Farrell has announced the 2002 MFA:

To Peter Dickinson, THE ROPEMAKER (Delacorte hc Nov 2001)

Other Finalists:

Diane Duane, THE WIZARD’S DILEMMA (Magic Carpet hc Jun 2001)
Eva Ibbotson, ISLAND OF THE AUNTS (Puffin pb Sep 2001)
Gail Carson Levine, THE TWO PRINCESSES OF BAMARRE (HarperCollins hc Mar 2001)

The awards were presented at the banquet of Mythcon XXXIII in Boulder, Colorado, July 26-29.

Eleanor M. Farrell
Mythopoeic Awards Administrator
E-mail: emfarrell@earthlink.net
P.O. Box 320486
San Francisco, CA 94132-0486
MythSoc web site: http://www.mythsoc.org


The 2001 AWARDS–

August 2001: Winner: Dia Calhoun, Aria of the Sea

The 2000 AWARDS–

finalists for the 2000 award (for a book from 1999):

David Almond, Skellig (Delacorte hc April 1999)
Franny Billingsley, The Folk Keeper (Atheneum hc October 1999) [WINNER, announced August, 2000]
Tamora Pierce, “The Circle of Magic” series, consisting of:
Sandry’s Book (Scholastic hc 1997, Point pb September 1999)
Tris’ Book (Scholastic hc 1998, Point pb September1999)
Daja’s Book (Scholastic hc October 1998, Point pb March 2000)
Briar’s Book (Scholastic hc April 1999, Point pb March 2000)
J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Arthur A.
Levine hc Sept 1999)
Cynthia Voigt, “Kingdom” series, consisting of:
Elske (Atheneum hc October 1999)
Jackaroo (MacMillan hc 1985, Point pb 1995)
On Fortune’s Wheel (Econo-Clad Books hc Oct.1999, Aladdin pb Oct. 1999)
The Wings of a Falcon (Point pb 1995)

Here are some comments on the books nominated on the initial, long list, from Berni Phillips. More comments from others may be added in the near future.

The 1999 AWARDS–

1999 MFA finalists: The Heavenward Path, by Kara Dalkey; Dark Lord of Derkholm, by Diana Wynne Jones; Ella Enchanted, by Gail Carson Levine; The Squire’s Tale, by Gerald Morris, and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (___ and the Sorcerer’s Stone in the U.S.) by J.K. Rowling.
And the winner,
Dark Lord of Derkholm, by Diana Wynne Jones

Laura Krentz ran this list of eligible books through the apa in December.

If you have any comments about any of these (or other books) I’m sure they’d be helpful to the committee which will be selecting the award winner. Send them along! Or how about joining the committee? If you’re not a member of the Mythopoeic Society, why not join?

The 1998 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children’s Books went to:
Jane Yolen, for The “Young Merlin trilogy” (Harcourt Brace hcs), consisting of: Passager, Hobby and Merlin

Other finalists were:

Cooper, Susan. The Boggart and the Monster (McElderry hc)
Ipcar, Dahlov. A Dark Horn Blowing (Harcourt Brace pb)
McKinley, Robin. Rose Daughter (Greenwillow hc)

The Children’s Fantasy Special Interest Group was proposed as the parent group of Once Upon a Time. Its existence is nebulous, apart from the apa, but it was certainly involved in the planning and development of Mythcon 24, “Down the Hobbit-hole and Through the Wardrobe: Fantasy in Children’s Literature,” and in subsequent programming at Mythcons, and perhaps at some other ‘cons, as well. There is also a certain overlap with the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children’s Literature, one of the four awards presented each year by the Society, and with the committee that is formed to nominate and read the finalists for this award. This year the award went to Diana Wynne Jones’ Crown of Dalemark. We generally find ourselves discussing some of the finalists, and sometimes arguing over their relative merits. Often, some of the Mythprint reviews of the award winners and finalists have originated in Once Upon a Time.

It’s hard to represent an apa here on a web-page, but I’m including some reviews by several of our members. The simultaneous comments on a single book, characteristic of Butterbur’s Woodshed, may actually give a better feel for the sort of back and forth discussion that can occur, and I’ve posted some examples here from that apa, as well. But it’s harder to pull out examples from OUaT, because they tend to be sprinkled throughout several months of issues, and thus harder to track down in retrospect–to say nothing of editing and obtaining permission for quotation on this web-page.

What we’d really like from you is input to Once Upon a Time and the Children’s Mythopoeic Fantasy Award, particularly about new children’s fantasies. There are so many published each year, it’s hard to keep up. We hate to overlook a wonderful book for our Award finalists, so please, let us know if you read a new book that seems worthy of being considered–or warn us against wasting our time and pennies on a real loser. If you hear of a new book, even if you haven’t read it yet, but it’s by an author whose past work has been admirable, or if you want to ask for advice on whether to buy a new book, it’s not a bad idea to ask here for other readers’ comments.

If you just happen to get excited about a book that didn’t recently appear, even an older book, like (for example) Benary-Isbert’s The Wicked Enchantment, or Mrs. Molesworth’s The Tapestry Room, or you have a sudden insight about The Hobbit or The Sword in the Stone, drop me a note anyway: I’ll post it here and we’ll see if we elicit any discussion. I’ll also send it through the next Once Upon a Time. That’ll take time for a response (at least a couple of months) but we’re used to long conversations. There is a pleasure in that which mostly escapes us here on the net.

One more thing, if you can think of links to sites on Children’s literature or children’s writers, that might be of interest to people visiting this site, pass them on to me, and I’ll see about including them, below.


The Moor Child, by Eloise McGraw (suggested by Claudia Mills after the Children’s Fantasy panel at Mythcon 27– July 97). Also recommended by OUaT member Ruth Berman at a recent Rivendell Group discussion, and in the Star-Tribune, Newspaper of the Twin Cities).

Hob and the Goblins, by William Mayne, recommended in the Star-Tribune, Newspaper of the Twin Cities

*An apa is a sort of discussion group by mail, or correspondence circular, in which the members contribute in the form of little personal “zines,” in which they present their comments and in particular, often comment on and respond directly to comments in other members’ zines from the previous collation. These are separately produced, by each member, in a quantity equal to the membership (usually plus a few extras for sample copies) and mailed to the Official Editor, or O.E. The O.E. collates the various contributions together and mails out the resulting apa (also known as a “disty,” probably from distribution) to the members. This explanation is probably influenced and shaped by my own experience in OUaT and Butterbur’s Woodshed, the two MythSoc apas, so there may be a lot of variation out there in the hundreds or thousands of apas that exist.


NEW-4/6/99–More from COWS AND CATS AND SEALING WAX, inOnce Upon a Time, a children’s fantasy apa, ed. by Laura Krentz. Laura discusses Dalkey’s Little Sister and Heavenward Path.

From COWS AND CATS AND SEALING WAX, inOnce Upon a Time, a children’s fantasy apa, ed. by Laura Krentz. Laura discusses Waugh’s The Mennyms and Gray’s Falcon’s Egg.

From RR#1, inOnce Upon a Time, a children’s fantasy apa, ed. by Laura Krentz. Grace Funk discusses Cooper’s The Boggart, Gray’s Falcon’s Egg, Jones’s Crown of Dalemark, and Smith’s Wren’s War.

More from RR#1, inOnce Upon a Time, a children’s fantasy apa, ed. by Laura Krentz. Grace Funk discusses more Mennyms books by Waugh, some critical studies by Smith and Egoff (ed.), and reviews an adult fantasy by Caroline Stevermer.

Some of the members of Once Upon a Time have homepages. Here’s one for Laramie Sasseville: Dreamspell at http://www.dreamspell.net/LKS/frames.html

(The complete issue of) POOKA 34, by Ruth Berman, from OUaT #34.

Here’s a page for Jane Yolen. And she has a new one at www.janeyolen.com, as well!

From Out of the Woods #14 by David Bratman, in Once Upon a Time # 16, June 1993

From Gardens of Green Knowe, by David Lenander, “Crosscurrents in the River at Green Knowe, by L.M. Boston,” a paper presented at the Children’s Literature Association Conference in 1989, franked through the apa.

We’ve had a historical interest in the Freddy the Pig books by Walter R. Brooks in OUaT. Here’s a great web-site, with links to others: Freddy’s Home Pen er Page http://www.outermost.com/freddy/index.html

There are also nice sites for Lloyd Alexander, Edward Eager,

Here is the site for a fine periodical devoted to Children’s Literature, The Lion and the Unicorn, edited by Louisa Smith and Jack Zipes: http://www.press.jhu.edu/press/journals/titles/uni.html