I’ve loved Elisa Kleven’s work for sometime now but have never reviewed one of her books. It would be easy to go right into gush mode but let me try and write something a little more substantial. A Carousel Tale begins “Ernst, a young blue crocodile, loved the carousel in the park. Every day he would say hello to the wooden animals. His favorite was the honey-colored dog.” (Yes, sweet Ernst and his brother Sol are back.) On the day the carousel closes for the season Ernst finds the honey-colored dog’s tail on the ground but it’s too late to return it for all the animals are tucked away. The carousel keeper asks Ernst to take care of the tail until it’s warm again. He decides it looks lonely just sitting on the shelf and so he decorates it, transforming it into a beautiful bird that becomes his winter playmate and enters his dreams.When spring arrives, Ernst hesitantly returns the tail and the keeper wholeheartedly agrees “This is a wonderful bird you’ve made. As lovely as any carousel animal!” And to make everything perfectly right again, Ernst finds the perfect piece of wood to form another tail for his favorite honey-colored dog. All the different pieces to this story — creativity and artistic expression, honesty, friendship, positive solutions — come together so organically. Kleven’s detailed collages with watercolors and pastels are so bright and full of light and just seem to shout “all is right with the world.” And the endpapers are great too.
The Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast blog has a fine, fine interview with Elisa Kleven with many photos.
A Carousel Tale by Elisa Kleven
Tricycle Press, hardcover (9781582462394) $15.99