Once Upon A Time …

Photo by Mary O’KEEFE Pete Simpson, seated, from Once Upon A Time can be found reading at the Harvest Market for story time.
Photo by Mary O’KEEFE
Pete Simpson, seated, from Once Upon A Time can be found reading at the Harvest Market for story time.


“Dorothy lived in the midst of the great Kansas prairies, with Uncle Henry, who was a farmer, and Aunt Em, who was the farmer’s wife.”
“Joost had two problems: the moon and his mustache.”
Part One – Shadow Business
“Six of Crows” by Leigh Bardugo
“Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you’d expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn’t hold with such nonsense.”

These words about Dorothy from author Frank Baum in “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” Joost’s problems from “Six of Crows” “Part One – Shadow Business” by Leigh Bardugo and of course the story of “The Boy Who Lived,” dear magical Harry in “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” by J.K. Rowling – these words started many on a journey of imagination.

For many, that journey began when they were young sitting on a carpet and listening to a book being read to them during Story Time.

No one knows what story time means to a child more than those at Once Upon A Time bookstore in Montrose, which has the distinction of being the oldest children’s bookstore in the nation. And in what seems like a natural combination, Once Upon A Time has partnered its story time expertise with the family-friendly Sunday Harvest Market.

“The idea came from Steve Pierce and the Montrose Shopping Park Association,” said Maureen Palacios, owner of Once Upon a Time bookstore.

Pierce, the Marketplace manager, and members of the MSPA wanted to add more fun things to do in the kid’s corner in the west end of Harvest Market. There are bounce houses, a petting zoo, face painting and pony rides, to name a few, but a story time brings a very personal touch that mixes the present day excitement of new stories for kids with nostalgic story time memories for parents.

“Pete Simpson, who we call our Dragon Master, is so engaging,” Palacios said. Simpson is an employee of the bookstore and brings his community involvement and energetic spirit to story time.

“He loves to pull people in and get them excited about books,” she added.

Palacios said that preschool and elementary age kids are used to being read to and having story time outdoors is something the kids and Simpson love. She plans on expanding story time by inviting authors to come and read their books on a Sunday morning.

Some of the more popular books at Once Upon A Time are for preschoolers; “Puddle Pug” is written by Kim Norman and illustrated by La Crescenta’s own Keika Yamaguchi. For children a little older it’s all about “The Day the Crayons Came to Town” by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers, illustrator. There are new series like “Six of Crows” and “Wing of Fire” by Tui T. Sutherland.

Then there is Harry Potter, the story of a young sorcerer, his friends and his magical, and Muggle, world.

Each new book about “The Boy that Lived” was greeted with a party at Once Upon A Time. Harry Potter fans would line up, some in costume, to talk about the latest book and compare notes of where they thought the story would take them next. The last book in the series, “The Deathly Hallows,” was released about nine years ago.

Palacios was told on Wednesday the news that will have Harry Potter fans planning another party – “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” parts I and II, will be released at 12:01 a.m. on July 31 this year.

“We are going to be selling it,” Palacios said. “It is an original new play.”

The print edition of the script will be sold. The story is an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany.

“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” will be the eighth Harry Potter story and the first to officially be presented on stage.

“It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband, and father of three school-age children. While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes darkness comes from unexpected places,” according to a statement by publisher/distributer Scholastic Corporation.

For Palacios this new release means a midnight celebration on July 31 and a chance to see kids excited about reading.

The Once Upon A Time Story Time is on Sunday at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. All ages are welcomed.