cover image The Busy Life of Ernestine Buckmeister

The Busy Life of Ernestine Buckmeister

Linda Ravin Lodding, illus. by Suzanne Beaky. Flashlight (IPG, dist.), $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-9799746-9-4

Lodding makes her children’s book debut with an addition to the growing bookshelf of titles about overbooked and overworked children. And like many of its predecessors, its message is more for the parents making the schedules and paying for the after-school classes than for kids who, like Ernestine, innately know that bouncing on a trampoline and playing imaginary games outside beats an exhausting week packed with organized activities. Both Lodding and Beaky (the Hailey Twitch series) deploy abundant humor to make the story’s earnest message more palatable. Lodding’s prose is studded with punny quips and names (Ernestine’s instructors include sculptor Clay Lumpkin, yodeling expert Little Old Lady Hoo, and yoga guru Prakash Pretzel). For her part, Beaky provides acrylic caricatures that really take off once Ernestine and her nanny start to mix up her schedule (Ernestine is seen playing tuba during swim lessons and accidentally giving her knitting teacher a karate kick) and when Ernestine’s parents try to track her down after Ernestine and Nanny O’Dear play hooky on a grassy hilltop. Ages 5–7. (Sept.)