``We'll ride elephants through Brooklyn when Grandpa gets better.'' All the unspoken anxiety and fear of loss when a beloved family member falls ill is in the background of this colorful and imaginative exercise in coping. A granddaughter with streaming yellow hair imagines what it will be like when Grandpa recovers and they romp through the city streets in celebration. She'll blow a whistle and beat a drum. Cascading petals from sunflowers will form a carpet on the street. A thousand balloons will rise as aunts and uncles dance the polka in festive clothes. All family differences will be put aside and cousins and cats will turn cartwheels with abandon. The boldly individual cut-paper collages build to a crescendo of color by the end of the book, when the girl's unasked, but ever-present, question is finally answered: the recurring ``We'll ride elephants through Brooklyn when Grandpa gets better,'' is countered with ``And we did!'' This optimistic, fanciful book offers comfort and reassurance. Ages 3-up. (Dec.)
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-- A child narrator describes the celebration, with both plausible and fantastic elements, that will occur when her grandfather gets better. (No particular illness is specified.) She imagines a parade of elephants through Brooklyn with a band, balloons, and dancing. After a strong beginning, the impact is diluted by the inclusion of ``My red shoes won't pinch me'' and ``My hair won't have tangles,'' which seem irrelevant to the subject at hand, and by the last page, which concludes, ``and we did.'' Brilliantly colored and highly stylized collages provide a sunny, joyous atmosphere for the text. The little girl's hair streams across the pages like sunbeams. This is another tribute to intergenerational love, a popular subject these days, and surely a reflection of the childhood yearning for everything to be okay. --Leda Schubert, Vermont Department of Education, Montpelier
"Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, there lived in New York City a small, beloved princess. She was blessed with loving parents, two sets of loving grandparents, and plenty of loving uncles and loving aunts. At that time the little princess was the only child in the entire devoted family, and so she grew, adored, pampered and even spoiled, in her privileged house filled with books and music and art, writers and musicians and artists.
When the little princess turned four she and her parents moved to Rochester, New York. To make sure that she wouldn't feel too lonely having left most of the family in New York City, the little princess was soon provided with a brand new baby brother. He was sweet and smiling. The princess loved him, and she still does to this day.
Always looking for adventure, the family soon moved again, this time to Madison, Wisconsin, to a large palace on a lake. The princess blossomed with the roses. She was a good little princess. In all the years there, only once did she fall in the lake, but even though she was wearing her red velvet dress she wasn't scolded for it.
Time passed, palaces changed. Just before she turned sixteen, she and her little family moved one more time, to San Francisco, California. This time the palace sat high on a hill overlooking the bay.
It was in California that the princess completed her formal schooling, at Mills College in Oakland, with BA and MA degrees in art. Then it became time to find adventures of her own.
The nolongerlittle princess set out to seek her fortune. Full of independence and anxious to give back to the society that had treated her so well, she took a job teaching underprivileged, innercity children in Washington, D.C.
Not a week had passed when along came a knight in shining armor. Before the year was out, the princess and her knight were married.
They settled on the east coast, first in Washington, D.C., then for many years in Bethesda, Maryland, and later, for many more years, in Baltimore, Maryland. They lived happily with their three children.
Back in 1984, the nolongerlittle princess began to tell stories of her own just like this one. Because of her interest in art, she always made pictures to go with her words. She began illustrating her tales with woodcuts, but very soon her impatient nature forced her to find a faster medium. She chose collage. All but the first two of her 40 books are illustrated with cut and torn papers from all over the world, and bits of many other things, too: threads, fabrics, wood shavings, photographs, doilies, insides of envelopes, dried flowers. She is always looking for things to glue onto her pictures that she hopes are full of surprises.
Now the princess has silver hair. Her children are grownups. Nine years ago, she and her husband moved to New York. Today they live in a tiny palace, right on the river. They look at the New York skyline from the windows of their ivory tower. In spite of her silver hair, the princess is not old and tired. She still works hard, every single day, writing and illustrating books for children.
"And I'll never stop, either," says the princess, "because this is living happily ever after."
Well, what did you expect? Everyone knows that that's what princesses are supposed to do."
Leslie Carrara-Rudolph is a Muppet performer who has played Abby Cadabby and others on Sesame Street, since season 37. She is also Prairie Dawn's Mom in Sesame Beginnings and has played a range of characters in the resource videos.
The puppeteer began her Muppeteer career on Muppets Tonight, where she played the Pamela Anderson take-off character Spamela Hamderson in the sketch Bay of Pigswatch. She subsequently played various characters on The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss (notably taking over Kathryn Mullen's characters in the second season) and played the principal role of Edi the zebra on Animal Jam.
Carrara's puppetry career outside of the Muppets has been extensive, including the series Johnny and the Sprites (as Ginger, opposite on-camera star John Tartaglia) and Blue's Room (as Blue in the first season). Her candy-obsessed character, Lolly, performs with her in several clubs and events in New York and LA, as well as working in children outreach programs.
As an actress, she played Miss Poppy, the human kiddie-show star, in the satirical play Pigeon-Holed, written by Sesame writer Annie Evans. She has also performed at an opening for First Lady Hillary Clinton at the Children's Day Forum and at Walt Disney World (as characters in Pleasure Island's Adventurer's Club, at the Hoop-de-doo Musical Revue, and as Mrs. Claus) Other acting credits include Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors on stage and the 1995 video The Adventures of Mary-Kate and Ashley: The Case of the Sea-World Adventure (as Mrs. Torres).
As a voice actress, in addition to playing the cartoon version of Abby on Abby's Flying Fairy School, Carrara-Rudolph has been heard in the Henson digital puppetry series Frances (as Mother Badger) and in the 2009 revival of The Electric Company (as all the characters in the recurring animated "Haunted House" segment). Other voice-overs include anime like Zatch Bell! and Howl's Moving Castle, the animated series T.U.F.F Puppy (recurring as Peg Puppy) and Poochini's Yard (as Wendy), and the podcast series The Radio Adventures of Dr. Floyd (as Mrs. Floyd and Martha Washington). Video game credits include Commander Sasha in Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal and Ratchet: Deadlocked, Zoo Vet, and various citizens in the first two Saints Row games.