cover image A Carousel Tale

A Carousel Tale

Elisa Kleven. Tricycle, $15.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-1-58246-239-4

Crocodile brothers Ernst and Sol return in their third adventure (following Ernst and The Puddle Pail ), set against a painterly landscape of lively animals and sumptuous colors. Ernst loves to ride the “honey-colored dog” on the carousel in the park, but when the carousel closes for winter, he spots the dog's tail on the ground among the blowing leaves (“The tail just lay there, like a big wooden question mark”). The carousel keeper, a soulful elephant, advises Ernst to take the tail home and return it once the weather is warm. But when Ernst's creativity gets the better of him, he decorates the tail, fashioning it into a bird with exotic plumage. The pivotal moment arrives when Ernst must confess to the carousel keeper how he has altered the dog's tail. The vibrant, organic art—mixed media collage with watercolors and pastels—sets the stage for a tender, animate space. Every object, from the tail-turned-bird to a paintbrush resting in a cup of water, emanates warmth and individuality, capturing the (sometimes overwhelming) sensory environment of the imaginative child. Ages 4–8. (Mar.)