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Children's LiteratureThe 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