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A Carousel Tale

Overview

Ernst loves the carousel near his house, and his favorite animal is the dog. When the dog’s wooden tail comes loose just before winter, Ernst is given the important job of keeping it safe until springtime.

But the tail looks sad sitting on Ernst’s shelf without its dog, and Ernst can’t help but try to cheer it up. It isn’t long before he has transformed the lonely tail into something wonderful!

As spring approaches, Ernst wonders if he will ...

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Overview

Ernst loves the carousel near his house, and his favorite animal is the dog. When the dog’s wooden tail comes loose just before winter, Ernst is given the important job of keeping it safe until springtime.

But the tail looks sad sitting on Ernst’s shelf without its dog, and Ernst can’t help but try to cheer it up. It isn’t long before he has transformed the lonely tail into something wonderful!

As spring approaches, Ernst wonders if he will have to give up his special creation. And if he doesn’t, what will the poor dog have to wag? The imaginative crocodile from Ernst and The Puddle Pail shines once again in a story that children will treasure.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Ernst, the endearing blue crocodile (Ernst, 1989, etc.), reappears in this  joyous, childlike tale that celebrates the power of the creative imagination  to transform the broken into something new, wonderful and whole....Kleven’s playful, light-infused collages sing and dance on the pages like  the carousel in springtime.—Kirkus Reviews, STARRED

The vibrant, organic art–mixed media collage with watercolors and pastels–sets the stage for a tender, animate space. Every object, from the tail-turned-bird to a paintbrush resting in a cup of water, emanates warmth and individuality, capturing the (sometimes overwhelming) sensory environment of the imaginative child.—Publishers Weekly

Kleven’s dreamy mixed-media collages add depth to this gentle tale of creativity and resourcefulness. The author effectively depicts the interplay between Ernst’s gentle introversion and his brother’s grouchy pragmatism, with Ernst’s creative vision winning out in the end. A good conversation starter on the nature of art and the art of nature.—School Library Journal 

The clear, colorfully detailed, collage pictures celebrate the transforming power of art.—Booklist magazine

Kleven’s simple plot is imaginative and child-centered....Creative kids who love to make stuff out of other stuff will adore this, and even those who normally don’t may find that it inspires their dormant artistic muse.—Book Review Digest

Kleven's playful, light-infused collages sing and dance on the pages like the carousel in springtime."–Kirkus Reviews *Starred Review*  "Author and illustrator Kleven designs a feast for the eyes with the detailed collages... "Whimsical, brightly colored images swirl across the pages. Readers will linger over the illustrations to savor the details and find such hidden treasures as a reference to Hans Christian Andersen.—Foreword

Publishers Weekly

Crocodile brothers Ernst and Sol return in their third adventure (following Ernst and The Puddle Pail), set against a painterly landscape of lively animals and sumptuous colors. Ernst loves to ride the "honey-colored dog" on the carousel in the park, but when the carousel closes for winter, he spots the dog's tail on the ground among the blowing leaves ("The tail just lay there, like a big wooden question mark"). The carousel keeper, a soulful elephant, advises Ernst to take the tail home and return it once the weather is warm. But when Ernst's creativity gets the better of him, he decorates the tail, fashioning it into a bird with exotic plumage. The pivotal moment arrives when Ernst must confess to the carousel keeper how he has altered the dog's tail. The vibrant, organic art-mixed media collage with watercolors and pastels-sets the stage for a tender, animate space. Every object, from the tail-turned-bird to a paintbrush resting in a cup of water, emanates warmth and individuality, capturing the (sometimes overwhelming) sensory environment of the imaginative child. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Ernst, the young blue crocodile of Kleven's Puddle Pail, loves the carousel in the park, particularly his favorite animal, the "sunny" dog. He especially enjoys the wagging of its tail, although his brother says it is just loose. When the carousel closes for the winter, Ernst is surprised to find the tail outside on the ground. The carousel keeper tells Ernst to keep it until spring. Ernst, feeling that the tail is sad, embellishes it to cheer it up, until he has made from it a beautiful bird. He has great fun with it, until spring arrives and he realizes he must give the tail back. Fortunately the carousel keeper is willing to let Ernst keep his beautiful bird friend. He makes a new tail for the dog so they can all ride joyfully around together. This happy story invites us in with the carousel animals galloping across the end pages, an assortment of animated animals on their backs. The double title page offers a complex park scene with leafy trees, birds and other creatures, with Ernst approaching his dog on the carousel. Kleven uses mixed media collage with watercolors, ink, pastels, and colored pencils to create this amusing visual fantasy of abstract animals and a salute to creativity. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 2

The star of Ernst (1989) and The Puddle Pail (1997, both Dutton) returns in another charming adventure. The young blue crocodile loves the carousel at the park, always choosing to ride the "honey-colored dog." One fall day, he's sad to see that the carousel has been covered up until spring. While walking home, he finds the dog's tail, which had fallen off, and the carousel keeper lets him take it home for safekeeping. To Ernst, the tail looks lonely, and he decides to "cheer it up" by painting on a face and pasting on feathery wings. Though his older brother reminds him he will have to clean up the tail-turned-bird when he returns it, Ernst plays creatively with it throughout the winter. When spring comes, he's thinks he will be in trouble, but the carousel keeper appreciates art and tells Ernst to take the bird for a ride. The dog is still without a tail, but Ernst soon finds a perfectly shaped stick on the ground, and he and the carousel keeper sand it, varnish it, and attach it. Kleven's dreamy mixed-media collages add depth to this gentle tale of creativity and resourcefulness. The author effectively depicts the interplay between Ernst's gentle introversion and his brother's grouchy pragmatism, with Ernst's creative vision winning out in the end. A good conversation starter on the nature of art and the art of nature.-Rachael Vilmar, Eastern Shore Regional Library, Salisbury, MD

Kirkus Reviews
Ernst, the endearing blue crocodile (Ernst, 1989, etc.), reappears in this joyous, childlike tale that celebrates the power of the creative imagination to transform the broken into something new, wonderful and whole. Ernst loves to ride on the carousel, and he always rides on the sunny-colored dog with the tail that wags. His older brother points out that the tail doesn't really wag, it's just loose, but Ernst is not deterred. However, when the carousel is closed for the winter, he finds the tail on the ground and takes it home. Because the tail looks lonely, Ernst decorates it, transforming the curved piece of wood into a beautiful painted and feathered bird, which becomes a favorite toy that figures in his dreams. Will Ernst be willing to transform his precious bird back into the dog's tail? An ingeniously happy solution, in perfect harmony with the joyful creativity of this charming tale, saves the day. Kleven's playful, light-infused collages sing and dance on the pages like the carousel in springtime. (Picture book. 3-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781582462394
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 3/1/2009
  • Pages: 38
  • Sales rank: 773,384
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Lexile: AD450L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

ELISA KLEVEN writes and illustrates picture books because she's never outgrown a deep childhood urge to enter a magical world. Elisa and her family live in Albany, California. To date, she has written and illustrated thirteen books and illustrated fifteen others.

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Read an Excerpt

Ernst, a young blue crocodile, loved the carousel in the park. Every day he would say hello to the wooden animals. His favorite was the honey-colored dog.

“You always ride the dog,” said Ernst’s big brother Sol one day. “Why do you like him so much?”

“His coat is sunny,” said Ernst, “and his eyes are bright. And his tail really wags.”

“It’s not wagging,” said Sol. “It’s just loose. The carousel keeper should tighten it.”

“I like the way it wags,” said Ernst. He gave the dog a hug, and the dog gave Ernst a ride, just like he always did.

Around and around they flew!

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