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Carolinda Clatter

Carolinda Clatter

by Mordicai Gerstein

Carolinda Clatter is born noisy in a place where, legend says, loud noise will wake a sleeping giant and bring destruction. Her tale, and that of an old giant hopelessly on love with the icy moon, are told in this lovely new picture book by the 2004 Caldecott Medal winner. It's an energetic and touching story about a spirited child, the power of self-expression,


Carolinda Clatter is born noisy in a place where, legend says, loud noise will wake a sleeping giant and bring destruction. Her tale, and that of an old giant hopelessly on love with the icy moon, are told in this lovely new picture book by the 2004 Caldecott Medal winner. It's an energetic and touching story about a spirited child, the power of self-expression, and the mysterious ability of music to transform and soothe us, set out in rich, ebullient pictures.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Caldecott Medalist Gerstein (The Man Who Walked Between the Towers) introduces Hugene, a bearded giant who falls in love with the moon. In a series of swirly, blue-hued illustrations, the smitten fellow dances and sings desperate "tra-las" in an attempt to woo the moon. Spurned, Hugene falls into a deep sleep: "His eyes became two ponds. His tears became two waterfalls. His beard and the hair on his head became forests." Over time, a group of people establish Pupicktown on his belly: "Babies didn't cry and children were afraid to scream and yell because everyone said, `Shhhh! You'll wake the giant.' " Then, in a cacophonous spread, Carolinda Clatter is born. Gerstein marries riotous color, scrawled ink lines and a chorus of handwritten "Wah!"s to dramatize the change that comes over Pupicktown. Carolinda, an adventurous orange-haired heroine in the tradition of Pippi Longstocking, yells and laughs and "she sang all the time." Eventually, she does wake the giant, who thanks her for "the beautiful music." Carolinda, in turn, tells the giant how many people "need you and love you," before singing him happily back to sleep. With its echoes of Scandinavian folk legends, the story celebrates music, love and noise. But it's the joyous illustrations that make this book so deserving of a loud round of applause. Ages 5-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
The legend believed by the residents of Pupickton for hundreds of years concerns the shape of the nearby mountain. The tale is a giant fell in love with the moon. When his pleas and cries over thousands of years remain unanswered, the giant fell asleep. It is his sleeping form under centuries of growing grass and forests that the villagers fear to wake. To avoid the destruction of the town, everyone has always remained very quiet—until Carolinda Clatter is born. As the text declares in large, upper-case letters, she is NOISY and un-hush-able. When she does wake the giant, it becomes her task to get him back to sleep. Fortunately, the giant enjoys her singing, and she is able to persuade him to sleep again, happily dreaming of his love, the moon. A scratchy black outline creates a very human-looking, bearded giant in the beginning, along with the subsequent old-fashioned town and the very noisy Carolinda. Transparent watercolors add appropriate emotional tone. A double-page scene of all the townsfolk hiding under their beds and a series of vignettes showing Carolinda's unsuccessful attempts to remain quiet are particularly effective in creating a comic mode. The printing of some dialog in tiny print to show the quiet is also amusing. The message about the soothing effect of music is conveyed beautifully in the deep blues of the giant's dream. 2005, Roaring Brook Press, Ages 4 to 8.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-The last giant on Earth has fallen hopelessly in love with the moon. Despite his desperate entreaties, which last for 5000 years, the moon ignores him. In despair, he lies down and weeps for another 10,000 years. Hugene eventually falls asleep and is gradually transformed into a grassy mountain. One hundred thousand years later, people build a town on him, but they live in total silence so as not to wake him. When Carolinda Clatter is born, however, she makes noise of every kind, despite everyone's warnings. "But the bigger she grew, the louder she got." The giant awakens, and she is sent to put him back to sleep. Carolinda convinces Hugene that he is now a mountain and cannot dance to her songs. She also convinces him that he is loved by the people living on him as well as by the moon. The now-contented giant falls back to sleep, never to wake again, and the townspeople are free to be as noisy as they like. Gerstein's expert artwork conveys both the melancholy aspect of the lovesick giant as well as the peaceful dreamlike state he eventually attains. The book is thoughtfully designed, with small panels showing the passage of time, and full spreads highlighting momentous events. The plot, however, is problematic, as Carolinda's claims that the giant is now loved conflicts with the fact that the townspeople exist in fearful silence, and the moon remains oblivious to Hugene except in his dreams. This is a lovely but flawed endeavor.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
"Once there was a lonely giant who fell in love with the moon. He was the very last giant, and there was no one else large enough for him to love." So begins Gerstein's century-spanning fairy tale, exquisitely illustrated with expressive, whimsical, scratchy ink drawings drenched in blue moonlight or yellow sunlight. The love-struck giant, after wooing the unresponsive moon for centuries, finally falls asleep, weeping, sleeping so long he becomes a mountainous landscape upon which a village called Pupickton (pupik is Yiddish for belly button) is built on his stomach. Heeding the legend that its beloved mountain is literally a sleeping giant, the village remains very quiet ("the only sounds were whispers and the purring of cats") until the irrepressibly musical Carolinda Clatter is born. When her exuberance finally wakens the giant, she alone must save Pupickton from his wrath. Happily, she wins him over, music and noise fill the air and the giant peacefully sleeps forevermore, finally feeling loved and dreaming of the moon. Refreshingly, marvels trump morals in this lovely, larger-than-life legend. (Picture book. 5-8)

Product Details

Roaring Brook Press
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
8.32(w) x 10.80(h) x 0.33(d)
AD590L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Mordicai Gerstein is the author and illustrator of The Man Who Walked Between the Towers, winner of the Caldecott Medal, and has had four books named New York Times Best Illustrated Books of the Year. Gerstein was born in Los Angeles in 1935. He remembers being inspired as a child by images of fine art, which his mother cut out of Life magazine, and by children’s books from the library: “I looked at Rembrandt and Superman, Matisse and Bugs Bunny, and began to make my own pictures.”


He attended Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles, and then got a job in an animated cartoon studio that sent him to New York, where he designed characters and thought up ideas for TV commercials. When a writer named Elizabeth Levy asked him to illustrate a humorous mystery story about two girls and a dog, his book career began, and soon he moved on to writing as well as illustrating. “I’m still surprised to be an author,” he says. “I wonder what I’ll write next?” Gerstein lives in Westhampton, Massachusetts.

Brief Biography

Northhampton, Massachusetts
Date of Birth:
November 25, 1935
Place of Birth:
Los Angeles, California
Chouinard Institute of Art

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