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Once Upon a Time Book

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This article focuses on Henry's book. For the television show, see Once Upon a Time.
Once Upon a Time Book
General Information
Origin: Enchanted Forest
Current Location: Storybrooke
Status: Existing
Physical Description
Type: Book
Color: Brown and Golden
Usage Information
Created by:
Possessed by:
Used by:
Show Information
First appearance: "Pilot"
Latest appearance: "Best Laid Plans"
Relevant Pages

They're not fairy tales... Every story in this book actually happened.

Henry to his birth mother src

The Once Upon a Time Book, commonly referred to as Henry's Book or simply The Book, is an item featured on ABC's Once Upon a Time. It first appears in the first episode of the first season.


During First Curse

In the town of Storybrooke, a schoolteacher, Mary Margaret, discovers a book of fairytales in her loft closet. At the school grounds, she notices one of her students, Henry, looking glum. He expresses frustration about not belonging in Storybrooke and how his adoptive mother, Regina, doesn't truly love him. To cheer Henry up, she gives him the storybook. Mary Margaret explains that the stories in it signify that things will get better for him if he holds onto hope. While flipping through the book, he looks at a photo of a princess and then sees a hallucination of Mary Margaret as the same person. On a different page, the princess and a prince hold an infant girl. Strangely, Henry recognizes her name as Emma. ("Going Home")

From reading the storybook, Henry begins believing the entire town is under a curse cast by none other by the Evil Queen, who is also apparently his mother, Regina. He becomes convinced the townspeople have forgotten their true selves while trapped in a time freeze. Alarmed by her son's "wild" imagination, Regina sends him to therapy sessions with Dr. Hopper. Despite this, Henry never gives up on his ideas. One day, he skips therapy and steals Mary Margaret's credit card to look up his birth mother's information. Certain that his birth mother, Emma, is the savior who will break the curse, Henry shows up on her doorstep in Boston. During the drive back to Storybrooke, he animatedly talks to Emma about the curse. Once she drops Henry off at his house, he purposely leaves his storybook in her car. Meeting Regina for the first time, Emma casually mentions the book, but the latter has never heard of it. On the drive out of town, Emma finally notices the storybook is still in her car. Distracted, she crashes the vehicle into the town sign. The next day, Emma meets Henry's teacher, Ms. Blanchard, who admits giving him the book because he's a lonely child, and she had hopes it'd help foster hope in his heart. After Emma brings Henry home again, Regina coldly urges her to stay out of Henry's life. Inside the house, she takes away the book from Henry. From flipping through the pages, Regina sees pictures of her former self, the Evil Queen. ("Pilot")

Continuing to read through the book, Regina notices the last few pages are torn out. When she questions Henry, he flippantly states it's just an old book. Regina, hurt by Henry thinking she's some "evil queen", asserts that she is his mother. In turn, he callously remarks that she is not his mother. Later on, Henry secretly gives Emma the torn out pages to prove she is the child of Prince Charming and Snow White. He warns against ever letting Regina, or the Evil Queen, see them or else she will know they are trying to break the curse. Meanwhile, Regina schemes to make Emma look bad in Henry's eyes. She manipulates a conversation so Emma says, on cue, that Henry is crazy, which he walks in and overhears. During Henry's therapy session with Dr. Hopper, Emma comes to apologize to the boy. In an effort to understand his insistent imagination, she agrees that the curse is crazy and burns the missing pages of the book so Regina doesn't find them. Emma reasons that she only said what was necessary to throw Regina off their trail, which Henry thinks is brilliant. ("The Thing You Love Most")

After seeing John Doe in the hospital, Henry Mills shows Emma a picture of Prince Charming in his book and notes that they both have the same scar under their chins. He asks Mary Margaret to read to him and she agrees. While reading him the Snow White fairytale, John Doe suddenly grabs her hand. In shock, Mary Margaret calls Dr. Whale to take a look. He tells her that it's not possible and she was just imagining it. The next day, they discover John Doe awoke from his coma and wandered out of the hospital. ("Snow Falls")

Graham has been having dreams of what he believes to be his past life so he visits Henry and asks him if he is in his book. Henry tells him the story of the Huntsman, who spared Snow White's life and as a result the Evil Queen ripped his heart. He also shows Graham a picture of the vault where the hearts are kept. ("The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter")

Emma discovers two orphans, Ava and Nicholas Zimmer, whose mother passed away recently. Henry shows Emma his book once again to point out that the children are Hansel and Gretel. Emma does not believe this, but Henry insists that their father abandoned them, but he must still be in Storybrooke because of the curse. ("True North")

After hiding his book at the castle playground, Henry rushes back to look for it when the entire area is bulldozed on Regina's orders. However, he is unable to find the book and believes it is destroyed. Later, to make up for his lost book, Regina gifts him a hand-held game console. ("Fruit of the Poisonous Tree", "What Happened to Frederick")

A town outsider, August, takes Emma to the wishing well for a drink. When they get to this well, they read a plaque that states that this water has magical properties with the ability to return what was once lost. Emma does not believe this, but drinks the water anyway. Later, she is surprised to find Henry's book floating in a puddle underneath her car, which was left there by none other than August, who has been secretly adding new story pages to the book. Unknown to her, this is a ploy enacted by him to convince her to believe in magic and, most importantly, the curse. ("What Happened to Frederick")

Ruby, after quitting her job at the diner, is hired by Emma to handle incoming phone calls at the sheriff station. Henry tells Emma about the entry in the book about her Enchanted Forest identity, Red Riding Hood, and because of this, Ruby is good at finding things. While researching the disappearance of missing resident Kathryn Nolan, Ruby searches the Toll Bridge for clues on Emma's orders and finds a jewelry box with a human heart inside. ("Red-Handed")

Whilst combing the border of Storybrooke in her car for a missing Mary Margaret, she accidentally hits a man on the road, Jefferson, and apologizes by driving him home. Little does she know, Jefferson has his own hidden intentions for Emma, who he drugs with sedatives. Under his coercion, she is forced to follow him to another room, where he strangely asks her to make a hat "work" with magic. Believing she possesses magic due to her status as the curse's savior, Jefferson only wishes to go home to his daughter, Grace, who he believes is now the next door neighbors' daughter, Paige. Realizing this man thinks himself to be the Mad Hatter, Emma plays along with his ideas in order to escape. After this ordeal, in which she also helps Mary Margaret escape from him, Emma joins Henry at his school, where she sees Paige. Going by a hunch, she asks to see the storybook. Within it, Emma finds drawing depictions of the Mad Hatter and his daughter that closely resemble Jefferson and Paige. ("Hat Trick")

Soon after Mary Margaret charged as a suspect in the murder of Kathryn, Emma reads through the storybook when August tries to inspire her efforts in exonerating her friend. He asks about the extent of her lie-detecting abilities, and how it relates to his writing. Going by his suggestion to look at the case from the beginning, she brings him to the crime scene at the Toll Bridge, where Kathryn's heart was found in a hole. As Emma digs near this area, she discovers a shovel piece, which leads her and August, with Henry's help, to investigate Regina's garage. They find a shovel matching the piece they found, however, when Emma returns the next day with a search warrant, a different shovel is in place. Believing August is helping Regina, Emma accuses him of conspiring against her until finding out the true backstabber is Sidney, who is spying on her for the mayor. Soon after, Kathryn is discovered alive behind the alley and Mary Margaret is cleared of the murder charges. ("The Stable Boy")

While at the diner with Emma, Henry informs her the story of Pinocchio has recently been added to the storybook. August, the alias of Pinocchio, takes Emma out of Storybrooke on his motorcycle to the spot where she was found her as a baby. He admits being the boy who found her, which she is skeptical of. To prove magic is real, August shows her his wooden leg. However, her disbelief in magic prevents her from seeing what is actually there. To her surprise, August believes in the curse and also thinks she is the savior who will save everyone. She, with intentions of getting Henry away from Regina, rejects his claims and flees. ("The Stranger")

Following a failed attempt to leave Storybrooke with Henry, in which the boy stops her by insisting she needs to break the curse, Emma realizes taking him away is not in his best interests. Fearing her presence is also not beneficial to him, she tells Regina of her plans to leave town permanently. Regina, who made a poisoned apple turnover, gives it to Emma as a parting gift, although she has hopes the savior will eat it and fall into an eternal sleep so Henry will be hers. Things do not go accordingly, with Henry discovering the apple turnover, and in desperation to make Emma believe the curse is real, he bites into it. When he falls unconscious, a worried Emma rushes him to the hospital. Though she shows the apple turnover to Dr. Whale, he does not believe it could possibly be the cause of Henry's current state. Searching for answers, Emma empties Henry's backpack and discovers the book, which allows her to remember her parents putting her in the wardrobe before the curse overtook them. ("A Land Without Magic")

After First Curse

Desperate to rescue Emma and Mary Margaret since they were whisked into a magic hat's portal, David also juggles responsibilities of being a leader to the townspeople. After the panicked citizens learn that crossing out of Storybrooke will result in memory loss, David schedules a town hall meeting in two hours where he'll unveil a plan to deal with the issue. Despite this promise, he struggles while practicing a speech for the event. Looking through the storybook, Henry mentions the hat belongs to the Mad Hatter. Believing this man knows how reactivate the hat, David seeks Mr. Gold for help finding him. ("We Are Both")

After undergoing the sleeping curse to relay a message to Mary Margaret in the Netherworld, David remains in a deep sleep as Henry begins reading him the Snow White fairytale from his storybook. ("Queen of Hearts")

During a hectic day, a stranger is admitted to the hospital, where Dr. Whale reconciles himself with demons of his past life. The next morning, Emma and her parents return to the loft since alleviating the stranger crisis. Henry learns Dr. Whale's true identity is Dr. Frankenstein, which is a story that doesn't exist in the book. From this, he suspects because Dr. Frankenstein isn't from the Enchanted Forest, there may be people from other worlds who were also taken by the curse. ("In the Name of the Brother")

After Second Curse

With the accidental return of Robin Hood's previously deceased wife, Marian, he chooses to end his current relationship with Regina and honor his marriage vows. Heartbroken, Regina wishes to kill Marian, however, she later realizes the other woman is not her problem, and her future with Robin Hood can be fulfilled if the storybook author rewrites her a happy ending. Grabbing the book, she summons Sidney in his mirror and explains her plan to find the author. ("A Tale of Two Sisters")

When Regina prods Henry about the storybook author's identity, he learns why she wants to find the writer. Coining the mission Operation Mongoose, Henry decides to join her in this quest. Later, he suspects Mr. Gold possibly knows something about the author. Going undercover, Henry gains an apprenticeship at the pawnshop in the hopes of gathering information. ("Rocky Road", "The Apprentice")

In her vault, Regina sadly studies all the storybook pages illustrating happy endings to stories. Despite knowing he must focus on saving Marian, Robin Hood rushes in and proclaims he cannot erase Regina from his heart. Dismayed with his confession, Regina steels herself by asserting they absolutely cannot be in each other's lives. She then leaves for home, where Henry sees her angrily flipping through the storybook. He inquiries about her relationship with Robin Hood, which she confirms is over. Choosing his heart's desire over honor, Robin Hood later seeks out Regina as they spend the night together. ("The Snow Queen")

The day after, Regina is remorseful about her actions and tries to prove to Robin Hood that they are not meant to be by showing him the storybook. This leads him to researching the book at the library, and to a mysterious discovery of a new storybook page featuring himself and Regina. He believes it's a sign they have a future together, which gives Regina a glimmer of hope. ("Smash the Mirror")


On-screen Notes

Production Notes

  • When creating the book, the prop department brought in every style and type of book they could find, and picked out an antique accounting book. They aged it up a little, and the art department would press stamps into the cover of the book to change the cover. A book builder made replicas of the finished product. The prop department created many pages with text on them, and added several illustrations.[17]
    • The show does several transitions from the book to live action. If they're lucky, the prop department creates an illustration out of a screen-grab and inserts it into the book. If the prop department's schedule takes before the filming of the main action of the story line, they put a green page in the book, and the visual effects department will make their own illustration.[17]

Props Notes



Note: "Archive" denotes archive footage.


Start a Discussion Discussions about Once Upon a Time (Book)

  • August's Fate

    3 messages
    • I hope that August stays. I liked his relationship with Emma, back in Season 1
    • Number one is very unlikely to actually occur. Once his dead he wouldnt be able to spill the beans on what the QOD want to know (i presume ...
  • Is Neal the auther?

    23 messages
    • They said the author is a new character.
    • Yeah the Author is supposed to be new

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