The Busy Life of Ernestine Buckmeister

( 1 )

Overview

Ernestine is in over her head. Monday through Sunday, Ernestine’s week is packed with after-school lessons—tuba, knitting, sculpting, water ballet, yoga, yodeling, and karate. Overwhelmed and exhausted, Ernestine decides to take matters into her own hands and heads off to the park with her Nanny where she builds a fort, watches the clouds, and plays all kinds of unstructured and imaginative games. But when a teacher calls Ernestine's mom to report that she has not shown up for yodeling, her parents search ...

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Overview

Ernestine is in over her head. Monday through Sunday, Ernestine’s week is packed with after-school lessons—tuba, knitting, sculpting, water ballet, yoga, yodeling, and karate. Overwhelmed and exhausted, Ernestine decides to take matters into her own hands and heads off to the park with her Nanny where she builds a fort, watches the clouds, and plays all kinds of unstructured and imaginative games. But when a teacher calls Ernestine's mom to report that she has not shown up for yodeling, her parents search everywhere until at last they hear their daughter's laughter coming from the park. Ernestine tells her parents what a wonderful afternoon she's had, and explains her plight, asking, "I like my lessons, but can't I stop some of them?" This saga hilariously captures the dilemma of the modern-day over-scheduled child in riotous color and absurd extremes. A delightful heroine, Ernestine will be sure to put “play” back on everyone’s agenda, demonstrating that in today’s overscheduled world, everyone needs the joy of play and the simple wonders of childhood.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Lodding makes her children’s book debut with an addition to the growing bookshelf of titles about overbooked and overworked children. And like many of its predecessors, its message is more for the parents making the schedules and paying for the after-school classes than for kids who, like Ernestine, innately know that bouncing on a trampoline and playing imaginary games outside beats an exhausting week packed with organized activities. Both Lodding and Beaky (the Hailey Twitch series) deploy abundant humor to make the story’s earnest message more palatable. Lodding’s prose is studded with punny quips and names (Ernestine’s instructors include sculptor Clay Lumpkin, yodeling expert Little Old Lady Hoo, and yoga guru Prakash Pretzel). For her part, Beaky provides acrylic caricatures that really take off once Ernestine and her nanny start to mix up her schedule (Ernestine is seen playing tuba during swim lessons and accidentally giving her knitting teacher a karate kick) and when Ernestine’s parents try to track her down after Ernestine and Nanny O’Dear play hooky on a grassy hilltop. Ages 5–7. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
"This book is a joyful and funny reminder to kids and parents alike about the importance and power of play. . . . Our children will all be happier and healthier if we lessen all those lessons and get out to play." —Darell Hammond, CEO and cofounder of KaBOOM!

"Illustrations by Beaky . . . a helter-skelter of varying perspectives, diagonal lines, falling objects, and crowded calendars sporting Post-It notes all contribute to the frantic mood of the story. . . . More than enough amusing examples of adult folly in both text and illustration." —Bayviews (February 2012)

"One day overscheduled Ernestine bails on her lessons to do something outrageous: play. The book has a capital 'M' message but also lots of heart. Plus, there's amusement in Lodding's text . . . and in Beaky's acrylics." —The Horn Book (January 2012)

"Beautiful acrylic illustrations in vibrant colors show the child's myriad activities and frenzied lifestyle. Taking time to play without a schedule is one of the overarching themes here, but Ernestine seems to realize this all along." —School Library Journal (December 1, 2011)

"A paean to play, especially for kids. . . . The vibrant, colorful illustrations help lift each page of spunky narration. The Busy Life of Ernestine Buckmeister will appeal to overachieving kids of all ages, or 4-8." —www.midwestbookreview.com (December 2011)

"Lodding teaches an important lesson . . . without being didactic, but with charming characters and happenings. The brilliant illustrations of Suzanne Beaky are an absolute treat, full of fun and telling details in bright colors. They match the story perfectly. This is a book parents and children alike will enjoy over and over again." —www.CityBookReview.com (January 2012)

"After juggling a different activity each day of her overscheduled life, Ernestine breaks free for a day of playing at the park, reminding kids and adults alike about the importance of including fun and simple childhood wonder on every agenda." —Metro Family Magazine (March 2012)

"The illustrator has created beautiful and detailed artwork that really helps emphasize Ernestine and her crazy life. The images are creative and funny. Children . . . will delight in the moral of the story: Sometimes a kid just needs to have time to play, have fun, and exercise only the imagination." —www.NYJournalOfBooks.com

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Ernestine's next-door neighbor Hugo invites her to play after school. But poor Ernestine has every day of the week scheduled for her by her overeager parents. From sculpting and water ballet to yodeling, karate, and yoga, Ernestine goes frantically from lesson to lesson, supervised efficiently in most cases by Nanny O'Dear. And each day she wistfully watches Hugo happily playing. Finally Ernestine schedules something new for her and Nanny: a day of fun in the park. When it is reported to her parents that she has missed a lesson, they rush from one of her classes to another trying to find her. Exhausted, they begin to realize why Ernestine always looks so pale. And the whole family reconsiders their lives and schedules. The humorous text, replete with names like sculpture teacher Clay Lumpkin and karate Grand Master HiYa, holds a serious lesson for over scheduling parents. Ernestine's unhappiness is clear on the jacket, where Beaky's acrylic paintings show her pulling a wagon filled with equipment for her lessons, while she sorrowfully eyeballs Hugo at play and Nanny checks the schedule. Not quite cartoons, the characters are more doll-like with naturalistic bodies and large, expressive eyes. Full and double-page scenes of action set the stage for each activity, with characters designed to add to the humor. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—Ernestine has a full schedule. Every day after school, she has a different lesson with a different teacher. Mondays, it's sculpting with Clay Lumpkin. Tuesdays, water ballet with Miss Goldfisher. On Sundays, Ernestine has yoga with Guru Prakash Pretzel. During one of her meditation sessions, she has an idea. She convinces her Nanny O'Dear to play in the grass on the hilltop with her. When her parents finally catch up with the pair, she talks them into slowing the pace a bit. Beautiful acrylic illustrations in vibrant colors show the child's myriad activities and frenzied lifestyle. However, the story seems to be written more for parents than children. Taking time to play without a schedule is one of the overarching themes here, but Ernestine seems to realize this all along.—Lindsay Persohn, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
Kirkus Reviews

What does it mean to "live life to the fullest"?

Young Ernestine Buckmeister's parents pack her schedule, with a different activity daily after school, with yoga and karate on the weekend. They've even hired brusque Nanny O'Dear to keep her on schedule. As mother says, "Make every moment count!" Ernestine has no time to play, though it's clear from her longing looks at neighbor Hugo and his soccer ball that she wants to. The big schedule board that covers a wall of her bedroom fills her with dismay. One afternoon, Ernestine rushes out the door past Nanny, shouting, "Today I scheduled something new!" It's a trip to the park, to play with other kids. When the yodeling teacher calls home to report Ernestine's absence, the news sends her parents into a tizzy. They visit all her activities, from knitting to water ballet to tuba practice. Just following in their daughter's footsteps exhausts the Buckmeisters, and, when they spot her in the distance, they barely have enough energy to trudge up a hill to meet her. Both Ernestine and Nanny seem happy and renewed. From that day forward, sometimes it's activities, and sometimes..."she just played." There's great energy in both Lodding's storytelling and Beaky's bright acrylic illustrations.

The valuable lesson is all the more effective for being shown, and not preached—though perhaps it's meant more for adults than the children they are reading to. (Picture book. 5-7)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780979974694
  • Publisher: Flashlight Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2011
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.20 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Linda Ravin Lodding works abroad in media and public affairs for the United Nations. Suzanne Beaky is the illustrator of the Hailey Twitch chapter book series and several picture books. She is a recipient of the Ellen Dolan Memorial Mentorship Award from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators in Missouri. She lives in Kirksville, Missouri.

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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2013

    We discovered this book at a "meet the author" event a

    We discovered this book at a "meet the author" event at a local bookstore. My kids just love it. Every year when I have to go up to school and read a book aloud, my kids pick this one. All the kids in class love it and start interrupting me to tell me how over scheduled they are!!! They can relate to the book. I highly recommend it. Very funny and well illustrated!

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