We’ve reached an interesting turning point in children’s literature when the message of a kid’s book is aimed at both parents and children.
The Busy Life of Ernestine Buckmeister by Linda Lodding captures the essence of the over-scheduled child in a fun and friendly way. With so many activities in her schedule, Ernestine has no time to do what she really wants to do – play. Until one day, Ernestine takes control and changes her schedule.
Lodding gently critiques the philosophy that so many of us adhere to. Ernestine’s parents tell her to ‘make every moment count’ and ‘live life to the fullest’. But trying to pack in too many activities can be disastrous. While Ernestine suffers from activity overload, her parents believe that they are providing the best for their daughter.
While the book’s message can be sobering, The Busy Life of Ernestine Buckmeister is far from serious. This light-hearted story will entertain any elementary school-aged child as they read about Ernestine knitting with Mrs. Pearl Stitchem and practicing yoga with Guru Prakash Pretzel. The illustrations by Suzanne Beaky are bright and engaging.
The Busy Life of Ernestine Buckmeister is a wonderful reminder that play is just as important as – if not more important than – organized activities. Dr. Stuart Brown, author of Play and founder of the National Institute for Play, reminds us that play allows children to get in touch with their innate talents. If children are confined to scripted activities all the time, they will never get a chance to explore other interests.
Released just in time for Christmas, this book will make an excellent gift for the child [ahem, parent] who needs a kind reminder to relax and take time to play.