Serious Trouble

Serious Trouble

4.0 1
by Arthur Howard
     
 

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More than anything, Ernest wants to make people laugh. But his parents, King Olaf and Queen Olive, are serious people with a very serious problem in their kingdom: a fire-breathing, people-eating, three-headed DRAGON. Can Ernest remain true to himself and save the kingdom?

Overview


More than anything, Ernest wants to make people laugh. But his parents, King Olaf and Queen Olive, are serious people with a very serious problem in their kingdom: a fire-breathing, people-eating, three-headed DRAGON. Can Ernest remain true to himself and save the kingdom?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
King Olaf and Queen Olive take life very seriously. But their young and inappropriately named son Ernest is quite another story. He is wont to swing on the chandelier, use a shield to skateboard down the banister, and dreams of being a jester when he grows up. Howard (Hoodwinked) opens his waggish story with a hilarious portrait of the royal family-he applies his exuberant marker line to the squat king's scowl and the lean Queen's long, dour visage (she's looking up from reading Extra Grimm Fairy Tales), while Ernest grins irrepressibly at readers. The drama unfolds when Ernest accidentally runs up against the comically lurid, three-headed dragon that's been menacing the kingdom-a beast so contentious that it can't even decide "what to call itself: Me, Us, or Hey You!" The aspiring jester strikes an agreement: the dragon will let the prince go if he can make the monster laugh. But Ernest's funny faces and flips go over like a lead balloon-until he triumphs with the oldest jest of all: tickling. The author falters when he tries to wrap up the story with three different endings (in one, Ernest is a convert to the importance of being earnest; in the other two, Ernest becomes a great entertainer). The ploy overextends the punchline, and the alternatives do not display the wit of the previous pages. But the drawings exude so much energy and glee that readers will cheer Ernest's victory, whatever form it takes. Ages 3-7. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Ernest, the only child of royal parents, has a serious problem. He would love to grow up to be the court jester. Unfortunately, his extremely serious parents think that is a very bad idea. Who could be funny with a three headed, people-eating dragon roaming around? After meeting up with the dragon Ernest is able to make the creature laugh, and get a promise from him that he will stop eating people. With large, brightly colored single and double paged cartoon-like illustrations, and fairly brief text, this book would be an excellent choice for story time or reading in front of a lower primary grade class. The three-headed dragon, with all three heads in constant disagreement, is particularly funny, and certainly not at all scary. Dragon lovers will delight in this humorous tale! 2003, Harcourt, Ages 3 to 7.
— Leslie Rounds
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-King Olaf and Queen Olive are serious rulers who read and say serious things, and they gave their son a serious name, expecting him to follow in their footsteps. Ernest, however, would rather be a jester than a king. Wearing an oversized boot on his head and armed with an umbrella, he goes jousting astride a hobbyhorse. His father warns that being king is no laughing matter, and that a "fire-breathing, people-eating, three-headed dragon" is on the loose. The boy sneaks out of the castle and straightaway meets the creature, "face-to-face-to-face-to-face." Ernest is tongue-tied; the dragon, "surprisingly talkative." The three heads (Snaggle, Snuffle, and Snide) bicker constantly as they attempt to settle his fate. When Snuffle admits that they "haven't laughed in a thousand years," Ernest extracts a promise: if he makes them laugh, they'll let him go. This slight story is a tad predictable, but it's told with goofy good humor. The exuberant cartoons, in brightly hued transparent watercolors, are full of comic detail. Children will giggle right up to the fitting conclusion of this lighthearted romp.-Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Another perceptive, deceptively cartoonish tale from Howard. Despite his portentous name, young Ernest confounds his serious-minded royal parents by declaring that he only wants to be a court jester-an ambition that ultimately stands him in good stead during an encounter with a dour three-headed dragon. Given "two chances, or maybe three" to make the monster's heads laugh, or become a snack, Ernest comes through in the clutch despite the unusually tough audience-"We haven't laughed in a thousand years"-and returns to the palace in triumph. Does he then change his ways? Howard gives readers two chances to decide, ". . . or maybe three." Tucking plenty of wordplay into the brief text to complement his playful, loosely drawn illustrations, Howard produces another child-friendly episode, this one with an underlying message about parental expectations and being allowed to be one's own fool. (Picture book. 5-7)
From the Publisher

"Told with goofy good humor . . . Children will giggle right up to the fitting conclusion of this lighthearted romp."--School Library Journal
"This crowd pleaser will tickle even a heckler's funny bone."--The Horn Book

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780152026646
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
10/01/2003
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
11.00(w) x 8.50(h) x (d)
Lexile:
AD490L (what's this?)
Age Range:
3 Years

Meet the Author


ARTHUR HOWARD is best known as the illustrator of Cynthia Rylant's Mr. Putter & Tabby series. He is also the illustrator of Kathi Appelt's Bubba and Beau series, and he has written and illustrated four other picture books of his own. He lives in New York City.

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Serious Trouble 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a good but not a great book to me. I say this because I didn't see alot of deails in the book. I did like the part when Earnest didn't get eaten by the monster, and when he saved the town! Also I liked then ending when Earnest put on a show together for his parents, the king and queen. I look forward to reading more books by Aurthur Howard.