The Busy Life of Ernestine Buckmeister, by Linda Lodding

August 21, 2011

Busy people…
Busy beyond belief…
You’ve heard of them.
You’ve seen them.
Hey, you might even BE one!

I know I am.

And so is Ernestine Buckmeister.

The Story

Ernestine is a little girl who sculpts, knits, yodels…well, let’s just say she has a full calendar! And that’s not counting her homework! Her parents want her to live life to the fullest. But as she is half-dragged, exhausted, to her next extracurricular activity, she looks longingly at her friend Hugo, who has time to play.

She gets an idea.

Ernestine is going to take her schedule into her own hands!

Linda Lodding does a wonderful job of pulling the reader into the story with a reminder to “live life to the fullest!” A good message, certainly. But before long, Linda has the reader questioning this motto and how people can take it to unhealthy extremes. After all, how can poor Ernestine live life to the fullest if she never has time to play?

The Art

I must confess an immediate attraction to Suzanne Beaky’s colorful illustrations. The characters’ expressions are poignant without becoming exaggerated. The character placement and attention to detail encourage the reader to imagine and relate with all the silly and funny elements, while emphasizing a real concern over burning out due to an overabundance of activities. My favorite illustration, by far, is of Ernestine  with her arms thrown wide open, inviting the characters around her and the reader to stop and inhale.

Questions

I love it when I stumble into – or have sent my way by well-meaning souls – a book that speaks to adults as much as it speaks to children. Linda Lodding does this very well. She reminds adults, children, and the parents and caregivers who love them about the importance of play without being preachy. While this book is aimed at children ages 5 and up, I highly recommend it to parents and caregivers as well for its insight into the mind of a child who is suffering more than benefiting from a packed schedule.

This picture book encourages the reader to ask questions such as:

  • What does it mean to live life to its fullest?
  • How can we encourage our children to live life to the fullest?
  • Why are learning activities such as the ones Ernestine participates in considered essential to having a full life?
  • What is the importance of play?

Book trailer

To take a closer look at the life of Ernestine Buckmeister, check out this book trailer, made by Linda Lodding’s daughter. The book is published by Flashlight Press and is scheduled for release October, 2011.

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I’d like to thank Linda for sending this wonderful book my way for review. It came at the most opportune time where “busy” has become synonymous to my name. It has reminded me to stop and inhale and remember what is most important. And to get back to blogging kidlit!

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Linda Ravin Lodding: writer, working mom, expat, shutter-bug, yoga class drop-out, cheesecake lover, hula-hooper, dreamer.

Follow Linda on Twitter

Join Ernestine on  Facebook (for fun play ideas!)

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