Wandering around the Toronto Reference Library last week, I stumbled upon the “Once Upon A Time” library exhibit. I had read about it last year, then forgot to go because my brain was mush due to the business of Christmas preparations. Running from from November 5, 2016 to January 15, 2017, this small show is free and very charming. The show featured displays of toys, art and books for the more popular fairy tales: Cinderella, Beauty & the Beast, Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel & Gretel, Jack & The Beanstalk, Snow White, Puss & Boots. Below is a video I made of some pics I took of the show:
Since this is a show set in a library, a majority of the exhibit consisted of books that were very well preserved. The books were very beautiful – there is nothing quite like old books, they seem to be printed on magical paper! Of course, the books are kept under glass to avoid people and curious children from touching them. Other items included china, pop-up books, ceramic figurines, toys and prints.
Reading the introduction on the wall about the Grimm brothers reminded me of my childhood, because my mom liked to read all the ones with scary endings. She would tell me that if I was bad, I would end up like some of those characters! Hmm, I wonder why I ended up writing vampire books?
Surprisingly there was some art from fairy tales originating from China, Japan and Korea although I’ve never heard of them. Still, it was nice to see some Asian book illustrations on display.
For children and parents, there was an area with some books and coloring sheets set up with a few stools. For those wanting to test fairy tale knowledge, there were large digital screens set up with interactive displays and puzzle games. The pictures of characters on the walls such as Puss in Boots were gorgeous and would make great photo ops.
Overall I spent about 30-60 minutes walking around. It’s an exhibit suitable for people in offices nearby who have time to drop by during lunch hours. Since it’s such a small show, I only recommend it for people who are already in the Toronto area or live nearby.
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