Not even Guy's little goddaughter (for whom he invented the trick) could love "Once Upon A Time" more than I do.
Richard had expressed some concern about the length of the presentation, as the three included stories run much longer than a traditional card trick. True enough. But the tone is not at all "card trick," but "story time," and every kid is used to that. I've never had a kid's attention wander for the slightest moment - if anything, they seem to find it quite mesmerizing to hear these very familiar tales related in such an unusual way.
My magical imagination had not run in the direction of cards prior to "Once Upon A Time." It's design for a beginner was perfect for me - I found the explanations of the sleights both clear and inspiring of further study. (Now I love cards and I'm playing with them every day.) Because I'm a mom (and a heavy-duty read-aloud mom at that), the theme of fairytales also suits me in a way that the gambling/deception/gotcha! theme of so many card tricks does not.
The original deck that I got, which I practiced to death, has square corners, so that the cards more resemble the pages of a book. The subsequent deck that I ordered has rounded edges like a traditional deck of cards. I'm not sure if this is a permanent change, or if there are two sorts, and it's "luck of the draw" when you order.
One of the best features of the trick is that the cards end up re-set. When a kid wanders in near the end of the story, I'm able to launch right in again as soon as I wrap it all up. Ingenious.
It would be nice if there was a deluxe edition with a real leather slipcase. The cardboard slipcase looks adorable, but gets worn out surprisingly soon.
The tone of the trick is not "professional magician," but warm, cozy family time. But even if this does not suit your magic persona, the deck is a wonderful specimen of magical thinking, and worth getting to know as an example of how alive magic is in our lucky, lucky times.
Living happily ever after,