Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Busy Life of Ernestine Buckmeister

Ernestine Buckmeister leads a life that few of us would envy. For starters, she is saddled with one heck of a name. Worse, her parents seem to live by the adage that "idle hands are the devil's handiwork" and schedule Ernestine's life accordingly. This kid is as busy as if she were holding down a full time job! Actually, it's more like two full time jobs - Nanny O' Dear is around to keep Ernestine on track.

Ernestine has a different after-school activity every day of the week. Her week is comprised of the following: sculpting, water ballet, knitting, tuba lessons, and yodeling. The weekends are neatly wrapped up in karate and yoga. In between school, homework and her rigorous extracurricular activities, Ernestine has zero free time. She does however, have a gigantic white board spanning an entire wall in her room for her schedule. Ernestine is sitting in bed one night, staring at this very thing that represents her over-scheduled life ... when she has a revelation.

The next day, Ernestine casually announces to Nanny that she will be skipping yodeling for a new activity in the park. The two spend their afternoon running through the trees, making daisy crowns, and building a twig fort. Meanwhile, the parental Buckmeisters are alerted to Ernestine's yodeling absence and are desperately trying to locate her. They frantically run from class to class, but knitting, karate, water ballet, sculpting, yoga, and tuba all yield the same result - no Ernestine. Exhausted, they finally bump into their rosy-cheeked daughter in the park on their way home. Once the Buckmeisters realize how greatly Ernestine benefits from not having every minute of her day scheduled, the whole family slows down.

I like all the little details and bits of humor tucked in here. Most obviously, the author links names with activities, with Mr. Oompah teaching tuba lessons while Mrs. Pearl Stitchem handles knitting. You'll have to look a bit closer to notice the post-it note accidentally clamped to Nanny's hat, the yodeling teacher's goat gnawing on anything he can reach, or the lump of clay stuck to Mrs. Buckmeister's bottom. Overall, extremely cute and a nice little reminder for overzealous parents.    

Review copy provided by Flashlight Press. 

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