A Carousel Tale by Elisa Kleven

Ernst loves the carousel near his house, and his favorite animal to ride is the dog. When the dog's wooden tail comes loose just before winter, the carousel keeper gives Ernst the important job of watching over it until springtime. But the tail looks so sad sitting on Ernst's shelf without its dog that Ernst can't help but try to cheer it up. It isn't long before he has transformed the lonely tail into something wonderful!

As spring approaches, Ernst wonders if he will have to give up his special creation. And if he doesn't, what will the poor dog have to wag? The inventive blue crocodile from Ernst and The Puddle Pail shines in a story children will cherish.

I was lucky enough to get the author to agree to an interview. Here's what she had to say:

Could you please tell us a little about your book?

It tells the story of a young blue crocodile, Ernst, ( featured in three other books of mine), who uses his creativity to make something wonderful out of a loss. Ernst is sad when his favorite carousel is covered up for winter and vexed by finding the his beloved carousel dog's tail on the ground. When the carousel keeper tells Ernst he can take care of the tail over the winter, Ernst finds himself turning the tail into a friendly bird, which keeps him company all winter. Ernst, however, is also loyal to his old friend the dog, for whom he creates a nice new tail in spring.

Did something specific happen to prompt you to write this book?

It's the story of my life! I have always cheered myself up by making things with my hands

Who is your biggest supporter?

The children who read my books.

Your biggest critic?

Myself and the occasional ,critical book reviewer!

What cause are you most passionate about and why?

Saving planet earth, because it's our one and only, and very beautiful, home.

In the last year have you learned or improved on any skills?

I am always trying to learn to paint and draw better.

Do you have any rituals you follow when finishing a piece of work?

I usually feel very tired, and take a replenishing walk along the beach. Or eating a crispy and comforting vegetarian meal.

What are you currently working on?

I'm doing finished pictures for a story about a young elephant named Stanley.

Do you have any advice for writers or readers?

Read as much as you can. Try to write at least a few sentences a day, just for yourself, and try not to worry about how polished or "good" they sound.

Is there an author that inspired you to write?

I think that Hans Christian Andersen gave me "permission" to delve into my imagination and animate the world around me, even after I was supposed to "grow up" and abandon these childlike activities.

What are some of your long term goals?

I hope to keep creating stories and pictures for children, and I hope to inspire children to make things with their hands and to appreciate their innate imaginative gifts.

What do you feel has been your greatest achievement as an author?

Getting published at all, since I am self taught and really didn't know what I was doing when I started creating children's books 20 years ago.

What do you feel is your biggest strength?

I remember how it felt to be a child .

Biggest weakness?

I wish I drew and painted better.

What do you feel sets this book apart from others in the same genre?

Every book is unique because every author and illustrators' way of seeing is unique.

You know the scenario you're stuck on an island. What book would you bring with you and why?

The collected works of Shakespeare.

If you could go back and change one day, what would it be?

9/11 -- I wish I could have stopped the bad guys. Or I wish I could have prevented Hitler from being conceived!

What is your favorite past-time?

Walking on a grassy slope above the ocean.

For more information about the books or the author please visit http://www.elisakleven.com/

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