When Sarie's teacher says, Children, take out your reading books, a sick feeling grips Sarie. The words trip up her tongue and she stutters and stammers, making the children in the back row giggle. But there are two people who sympathise: her schoolfriend Emile, and Ou Missus, the old lady living over the veld. One Sunday, Sarie comes across an old copy of Cinderella and begs Ou Missus to read it to her, Ou Missus says, No - we will read it together. Sarie's confidence grows, until the day comes when the school principal says to Sarie, You read beautifully!
Niki Daly's first book, The Little Girl Who Lived Down the Road, won a British Arts Council Illustration Award. It was followed by Not So Fast Songololo, which won a Parents' Choice Award in the U.S. He wrote and illustrated the four Jamela books, including What's Cooking, Jamela? which was voted Best Book of 2002 by Young Booktrust. Once Upon a Time was selected as one of the Best Books of 2003 by Child Education.