BRAVO, ERNEST AND CELESTINE!; ERNEST AND CELESTINE by Gabrielle Vincent

BRAVO, ERNEST AND CELESTINE!; ERNEST AND CELESTINE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Shades of Ernest Shepard in the expressive, lightly brushed watercolors--and a pair of cohabitants, wee mouse Celestine and fatherly bear Ernest, whose affinity is the more affecting for being conveyed all in pictures. The text is also uncommonly effective all in dialogue--which suggests that Vincent may have had her eye on A. A. Milne altogether. In the first story, Ernest and Celestine (#1 because is does more to establish the relationship), the two go for a walk in the snow and Celestine loses her toy bird Gideon. ""It's all your fault, Ernest!"" says the disconsolate Celestine, tucked in bed, to the solicitous Ernest, fatherhood personified in a floor-length red bathrobe (while in the room--it's a memorable scene altogether--Gideon's doll carriage stands empty and Celestine's togs are strewn about the floor). Next day, Ernest finds Gideon buried in snow, brings home an armful of replacements (""But there wasn't one like Gideon""), and then--""I want Gideon""--hits upon a solution: Celestine draws a picture of Gideon, and Ernest sews his double. To celebrate--and, irresistibly, unspokenly, parcel out the non-Gideons--there'll be a sleep-over Christmas party for other mice-children. (After which Celestine says--apropos of doing the dishes: ""Oh, Ernest! I'll help you any time!"") Bravo, Ernest and Celestine! is a less subtly interwoven, more situation-bound affair--with, unfortunately, more slapdash pictures. (The detail tends to be just stuff; the proportions less carefully calculated--even as between Ernest and Celestine.) That situation: Ernest and Celestine have a leaky roof, and no money to fix it; so Celestine has the idea that Ernest will play his violin on the street--and, after a dud debut, that she will sing along with him. Their success is gratifying because you identify with the pair--but Ernest's initial diffidence and later stage-fright give the story its only internal vibrations. One could recommend Ernest and Celestine without Bravo. . . except that children would probably feel cheated.

Pub Date: April 12th, 1982
ISBN: 688-00857-7
Publisher: Greenwillow