This book has elements of magical realism that weave in and out of a very touching tale: a young girl dies and comes back to life. It seems that her presence awakens hope in different families, yet the girl's muteness makes it impossible for her to help the other humans unravel her tale. And since the beginning of recorded stories about babies and children as old as Wise Kong Solomon who threatens to divide a baby in half, everyone knows that a single child can not be the end of every family's loss. I enjoyed this story and in some ways found myself thinking of Canterbury Tales, folklore stories that also convey lessons about life. I really appreciated receiving an ARC of this book which just published yesterday (December 4) and thought that the lovely cover helps to convey that this book is unique and special. Many modern readers are used to having and many modern writers are told to provide a fast hook and continuous action to keep the attention of the audience. Once Upon a River goes against this traditional approach, but stick with it because, in the end, the mysteries all come together.