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BOOK REVIEW: Once Upon a Gorjuss Time by Santoro – London

| 14 October 2016 | Reply

BOOK REVIEW: Once Upon a Gorjuss Time by Santoro – London

October 2016
Hardback, $24.99
Reviewed by Steph O’Connell

Picture Book / Fairy Tales



Gorjuss, as you may or may not already know, is the name of a collection of bags, stationery, gifts and accessories produced by Santoro.

Each of their items features a sweet, quirky, and at times slightly gothic girls with big fringes, and tiny, delicate eyes the only features on their faces, somehow adding to their sweetness and their creepiness all at once.

The wording of the stories are on the sweet side, with the events of the story pulling the reader back towards the darker side, again, and overall they are quite enjoyable. In some instances (such as Alice in Wonderland) the story was rather rushed, but this collection would have been poorer without its inclusion.


Within this collection we are given Little Red Riding Hood:


Little Red had stopped to pick a pretty flower when she heard a gruff voice behind her: “Good morning, Little Red Riding Hood.”
Little Red turned around and saw a great big wolf! He had long sharp teeth, large black eyes and a very shaggy coat. But Little Red did not know what a wicked beast the wolf was, so she was not afraid.


The Little Mermaid:


“Please,” begged the little mermaid, “you must help me find a way to become human. How else can I win the prince’s heart?”
The merwoman pulled a book of ancient recipes off the shelf. “I can brew a draught for you, although it would be foolish of you to drink it. It rids you of your fish tail, and instead gives you legs. You would be very graceful, but you would feel as though you were treading on sharp knives with every step.”
“I’ll drink it,” said the mermaid, because she loved the prince very much, although in truth she was frightened.
“As you like,” replied the old merwoman. “But remember, if the prince gives his heart to another, you will dissolve and become no more than roam on the crest of waves.”


Snow White:


The guard led the girl far into the wood, but when he looked at her, his heart melted. “I cannot hurt you, sweet one,” he said. “Run, hide in the forest and never return to the palace.”
The man felt a heavy weight in his heart as he watched the girl flee. A  wild beast would most likely find her and tear her to pieces, but he consoled himself that she had not died by his hand.


Alice in Wonderland:


Alice didn’t quite know what to say. She paused uncomfortably, then ventured, “Could you please tell me which way I ought to go from here? I don’t much car where, so long as I get somewhere.”
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” the cat replied, “if you only walk long enough. In that direction lives the March Hare. He’s quite mad.”
“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” said Alice.
“Oh, you can’t help that, we’re all mad here in Wonderland. I’m mad, you’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?”
“You must be,” said the cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.” The cat’s tail began to vanish, then its body, then its head, and ending with its toothy grin, which remained hanging in the air some time after the rest had gone.




Poor little Thumbelina was left to fend for herself in the forest. She wove a bed from blades of grass and slept under a broad leaf to keep dry. She drank nectar from wildflowers for strength and quenched her thirst with morning dew.
Summer passed into autumn, and a chill crept over the land. Thumbelina watched the birds fly for warmer lands and the flowers wither around her. Even the leaf that protected her from rain shrivelled up, and she was left exposed to the dreadful cold.


And Rapunzel:


She was determined to have Rapunzel’s love – the love Rapunzel had shared with her mother – so she brought beautiful things to occupy the young girl and earn her favour. There were fine ribbons and darling buttons for dressmaking, sweet cherries and chocolates for baking, and a terrific assortment of toys. But best of all, there were books. Rapunzel loved to read, and she treasured each volume in her growing library. She would read about far-off adventures, then spend hours at the window staring out towards the horizon, dreaming about the endless world beyond.


The beautiful binding; the hard cover with gilded patterns; the gilded edges of the pages; the pages themselves, designed to look as though part of a particularly old book; and the front and end papers themselves, featuring row upon row of ancient, leather-look books, render this book a “gorjuss” gift and a must have addition to the library of any collector of fairy tales.



Category: Book Reviews, Other Reviews

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