Ernest and Celestine: The Picnic by Gabrielle Vincent

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Ernest and Celestine: The Picnic by Gabrielle Vincent

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Buy Ernest and Celestine: The Picnic by Gabrielle Vincent at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Ruth Ng
Reviewed by Ruth Ng
Summary: Beautiful artwork and a sweet, simple story. Lovely!
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: June 2013
Publisher: Catnip Publishing
ISBN: 978-1846471674

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Ernest, a large bear, and Celestine, a small mouse, have made themselves a beautiful picnic. Everything is packed and ready to go for when they get up tomorrow morning. However, when morning comes it's raining very heavily. Ernest says that unfortunately they can't have their picnic after all but poor Celestine is distraught. Is there any way Ernest can make things up to her?

I think we've all experienced, at some point in our lives, the disappointment of a much looked-forward-to event being rained off. Poor Celestine is so sad that the picnic can no longer happen. Ernest has a little think, and then he decides that he and Celestine will just have to pretend that there is no rain. They get themselves ready, Celestine reminding Ernest that they must not forget their sun hats! And off they go, battling the weather with little Celestine pretending it's beautiful sunshine along the way.

Finding a good spot in the forest they put up a canopy to protect their picnic, eating all their wonderful food happily beneath it. Suddenly an angry bear comes along, shouting to ask why they are on his land and that it is private property. Fortunately they manage to talk him round, inviting him into their den to enjoy a cup of tea! Soon the bear is inviting them back to his house, a rather grand mansion, and they all enjoy a nice warm, dry cup of tea together.

This story is very simply told. There's never more than two sentences per page, and quite often only one or indeed none. The text is all dialogue, snippets of discussion between Ernest and Celestine. Which leads to much of the story, then, being told by the pictures. The words themselves are simple, and the moments captured and easily understood by little ones.

The artwork is really rather lovely. Beautifully drawn in soft, muted colours, each image tells a great deal of what is happening in the story. Ernest and Celestine and sweet and expressive characters. There's a wonderful image of them walking down a lane together, umbrellas in hand, dancing through the puddles. I also love the picture of them eating their picnic beneath their canopy, Ernest sitting down wearing his sunglasses and Celestine small enough to stand up, wearing her sun hat and her wellies!

I like the simplicity to the story, and how the words and pictures work together to relate what happens. It's a short, easy book to read, nicely calming for bedtime reading and easy for little ones to relate to. I confess I did wonder, right at the end, why all the adult characters are bears and all the children are mice, but don't let that worry you! Just enjoy the old-fashioned charm to this lovely book.

For more charmingly illustrated stories older children might enjoy try A Year in Brambly Hedge by Jill Barklem or perhaps another picnic story might go down a treat The Bear's Water Picnic by John Yeoman and Quentin Blake

Buy Ernest and Celestine: The Picnic by Gabrielle Vincent at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Ernest and Celestine: The Picnic by Gabrielle Vincent at Amazon.co.uk


Buy Ernest and Celestine: The Picnic by Gabrielle Vincent at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Ernest and Celestine: The Picnic by Gabrielle Vincent at Amazon.com.

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