Skip to Main Content

Once Upon a Fairy Tale House

The True Story of Four Sisters and the Magic They Built

Illustrated by Giselle Potter



Free shipping when you spend $40. Terms apply.

Buy from Other Retailers

About The Book

This nonfiction picture book tells the true story of four sisters who used their skills and creativity to bring storybook houses from their childhood fairy tales to life in 1930s Southern California.

Mildred, Harriet, Brenda, and Wilma Moody grew up reading classic fairy tales and inventing their own, wishing they could live in the stories. They imagined storybook houses for themselves and slept there in their dreams every night. As adults, the sisters followed separate career paths until Mildred, an artist, needed a place to paint. Harriet, an architect, sketched plans for a studio that looked like the whimsical abodes from their childhood dreams.

When people saw the enchanting studio, they began to want fairy tale houses of their own. So, Harriet drew more plans, and Mildred decorated the insides, and Brenda and Wilma joined them to take care of the banking and business. Soon, storybook cottages bloomed throughout their tiny town. And when families moved into their new homes, they could all feel just a little bit of the Moody sisters’ fairy tale magic.

About The Author

Mary Lyn Ray is the author of many picture books for children. Her texts are often praised for their lyricism and emotional depth, and in her works, she frequently focuses on humankind’s relationship with nature. Among her critically acclaimed titles are StarsChristmas Farm, PumpkinsThe Thank You Book, and Go to Sleep, Little Farm.

About The Illustrator

Photo courtesy of the illustrator

Giselle Potter has illustrated many books, including Try It! by Mara Rockliff, All by Himself? by Elana K. Arnold, and Kate and the Beanstalk by Mary Pope Osborne, as well as her own Tell Me What to Dream AboutThis Is My Dollhouse, and The Year I Didn’t Go to School, about traveling through Italy with her parents’ puppet troupe when she was eight. She lives in Rosendale, New York, with her husband and two daughters. Visit her at

Product Details

  • Publisher: Beach Lane Books (May 23, 2023)
  • Length: 40 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781481479820
  • Grades: P - 3
  • Ages: 4 - 8

Browse Related Books

Resources and Downloads

High Resolution Images

More books from this author: Mary Lyn Ray

More books from this illustrator: Giselle Potter