The Ladder

( 2 )

Overview

A curious ladder inadvertently becomes a pathway to the clouds in this droll, interactive translation of an enchanting Danish poem.

So first it did a little dance,
then it did a little prance,
then, as nicely as you please,
it waddled off with stiff red knees.

Once there was a jaunty ladder, abandoned by a mysterious carpenter, that sprung ...

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Overview

A curious ladder inadvertently becomes a pathway to the clouds in this droll, interactive translation of an enchanting Danish poem.

So first it did a little dance,
then it did a little prance,
then, as nicely as you please,
it waddled off with stiff red knees.

Once there was a jaunty ladder, abandoned by a mysterious carpenter, that sprung to life and decided to take a trip through the countryside. As time passed, the gentle ladder found itself intrigued by a seriesof encounters with people and animals that climbed it to the top and disappeared into the sky, only to return, one by one, in a triumphant parade at the end. This exquisite edition of THE LADDER, the text of which was originally written by renowned Danish poet Halfdan Rasmussen, combines a translation by award-winning author and poet Marilyn Nelson with simple, striking artwork by Pierre Pratt, featuring several foldouts and partial pages in a charming, whimsical design.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
The rhyming tale of a mysterious ladder offers fold-outs to add to its strange story. The carpenter who built the ladder has climbed up and never come down. The ladder stands around, acting bored (in ladder style), then waddles off to explore. It meets a cow, a pedestrian, and then a farmer, who climbs it to enter "heaven." Then a band comes marching along, also continuing right up the ladder to disappear, as does a chauffeur-driven car and its passenger. Pages fold up or out as the ladder stands by and observes these actions, then watches as a mouse, pursued by a cat, chased by a dog, all run up and are gone. After a pair of lovers drift up and off, rain clouds gather and the ladder decides to go home. Suddenly a lightning flash forms a stair, down which come all those who went up. The carpenter takes the ladder on the train, "and he has not been seen again." Puzzling for sure. To keep the rhyming couplet format used by one of Denmark's best-loved poets, the translator may have had to make the story even stranger. And the bare bones, loosely painted acrylic scenes do not help much. So why not value this as comic nonsense with a beat? When the tale calls for more space for the action, we are given the sometimes vertical and sometimes horizontal fold-outs, even a sequence of cut pages. There, Pratt's imagination depicts the strange characters in the pastoral green landscape under lots of blue sky. 2006, Candlewick Press, Ages 4 to 8.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763622824
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 6/13/2006
  • Pages: 62
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 11.80 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

HALFDAN RASMUSSEN's poetry is a fundamental part of the children's literary canon in Denmark; his works are constantly being republished, and many have been set to music. While Rasmussen's children's verse is loved for its infectious rhyme, his adult-oriented writing is deeply concerned with social issues and human rights. Sadly, Halfdan Rasmussen passed away in 2002, but prior to his death, he granted Ms.
Nelson express permission to produce English versions of his works.

MARILYN NELSON is an award-winning author and poet for adults and children. The recipient of a Newbery Honor for CARVER: A LIFE IN POEMS, she is also a professor of English at the University of
Connecticut at Storrs and Poet Laureate of the State of Connecticut. Of THE LADDER, she says, "One of the lasting joys of the year I spent teaching English in a little college on the west coast of Denmark was reading the verse of the great Halfdan Rasmussen and being invited to his home. My translations are my gift to him and to English-speaking readers everywhere."

PIERRE PRATT has illustrated and written many award-winning books, including the Very Busy Life of Olaf and Venus series. He says, "When I first read THE LADDER, I knew the only possible thing to do was illustrate the book as an homage to so wonderful a poem and poet. I tried to complement the wit and finesse that the text achieves with words and rhymes in my use of lines, space, and colors." Pierre Pratt is eager to start work on his next book based on a poem by Halfdan Rasmussen.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 26, 2009

    Great Read-Aloud!!

    This book was a fantastic read aloud with my two children!! It lets you use your imagination, and left you wondering how it was going to end!! The lift-a-flap features were also a blast!!

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  • Posted March 10, 2009

    Its a keeper

    I didn't know about this book when I ordered it but it ended up being one of our favorites. There is a lot to discussion when the story is over or just read it for fun of it. Either way, its a great read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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