Once Upon A Wish

posted in: Amy Sparkes, Sara Ogilvie | 2

onceuponawishSwathes of lapis-lazuli blue shimmering with a dusting of magic wrap readers up in rhyming delight and fairy-tale enchantment in Amy Sparkes (@AmySparkes) and Sara Ogilvie‘s Once Upon a Wish, a truly lovely, imaginative and heart-warming tale about the value of friendship.

Deep in the heart of the Forest of Dreams the wishgiver boy works hard spreading joy. Wishes float in on the breeze and he sets about stirring up the mysterious ingredients needed to make dreams come true, before delivering the spells in person. Although happy to be able to grant others’ wishes, the thoughtful and kind boy is lonely. Some intangible ingredient seems to be missing and until he’s found it, his magic can’t work on himself.

Generosity, patience and gratitude finally bring magic words to light ensuring a reassuring, upbeat ending that will no doubt lead to many a conversation about hopes and happiness (and what we all can do to help each other with our own dreams and delight).

Sparkes’ sparkling story flows with a sunny rhythm and bounce, making it a real pleasure to read aloud. It’s wonderful to see a magical, creative and successful boy making it his business to leave the world a better place. Ogilvie’s illustrations perfectly balance charm and quirkiness, drawing out the warmth of the story without ever becoming saccharine. I’m pleased to see that the wishgiver’s new friend has dark skin; this is a rare book which manages to bring much needed gender and race diversity gently and so naturally into storytime, whilst also delivering a subtle message about the power of thankfulness.

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Now who doesn’t want to be able to grant wishes? We certainly want to, and so the girls and I set up a Wish Workshop, full of very special ingredients and all the tools of the trade which a wishgiver might need.

First we had to source all the magical ingredients we might need, some of which are mentioned in Once Upon a Wish.


I created labels the girls could use on jamjars – some labels pre-filled, others blank for ingredients from their imagination.



If you’d like to use my labels you can download them here.

With ingredients, cauldron and stirring implements to hand we set up our workshop outside…


…and started creating the magic needed for the wishes which had winged in on the wind.




Author Amy Sparkes wished she “could fly” whilst illustrator Sara Ogilvie’s wish was for “a long hot sunny day with the most incredibly delicious ice cream sundae!”


Kirstie wished for “a great big chocolate cake” for her tea, Damyanti dreamed of “rainbow coloured striped cornflowers please“, whilst Fiona‘s daughter asked for a little bit of magic to make sure “her drama club show (and her solo in it) to go well on Friday please“. Melissa‘s kids wished very hard “that it was the end of term sooner than it is!“. Polly wished for “A pony please. Or to be able to fly. Or a flying pony.“. Jenny sent a wish for “for lovely weather for our school fete this Saturday! :O)


Thank you SO much to everyone who sent us wishes – we had enormous fun with them, and are quietly confident all your wishes will indeed now come true 🙂

Whilst we made our wish workshop and wishes we listened to:

  • When You Wish Upon A Star (from the soundtrack to Pinocchio Original Soundtrack)
  • A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes (from the soundtrack to Walt Disney’s Cinderella’)
  • Wishing Well by Nick Bayard

  • Throw a Penny in the Wishing Well by Jennifer Gasoi

  • Other activities which might work well alongside reading Once Upon a Wish include:

  • Making your own boat to sail amongst the stars, just like the wishgiver boy. How about this cardboard box boat from Nature Store?
  • Writing wishes on streamers and creating an outdoor art installation with them. I can imagine a group or class each writing wishes/dreams on strips of paper, perhaps streamers like these, and then attaching them to a tree in the garden or playground. Perhaps Yoko Ono’s Wish Tree will inspire you!
  • Stirring up some giant bubble solution. Bubbles are essential for making wishes come true, and who can resist going for the biggest bubbles you can. Here’s how we did it.

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    Disclosure: I was sent a free review copy of this book by the publisher.

    2 Responses

    1. […] Playing by the Book has excellent post after excellent post after excellent post: I loved her post: Nuturing Reading Over the Summer Break and if you are looking for some magic: Once upon a Wish is Just Epic. […]

    2. I love the look of Once Upon a Wish. The title sounds wonderful and the illustrations are pure magic 🙂
      Catherine @ Story Snug recently posted..Story Snug’s ‘must-read’ authors for children up to age 10

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