The Busy Life of Ernestine Buckmeister

Ernestine is in over her head. Monday through Sunday, Ernestine’s week is packed with after-school lessons— tuba, knitting, sculpting, water ballet, yoga, yodeling, and karate.

Overwhelmed and exhausted, Ernestine decides to take matters into her own hands and heads off to the park with her Nanny where she builds a fort, watches the clouds, and plays all kinds of unstructured and imaginative games. But when a teacher calls Ernestine’s mom to report that she has not shown up for yodeling, her parents search everywhere until at last, they hear their daughter’s laughter coming from the park. Ernestine tells her parents what a wonderful afternoon she’s had, and explains her plight, asking, “I like my lessons, but can’t I stop some of them?”

This saga hilariously captures the dilemma of the modern-day over-scheduled child in riotous color and absurd extremes. A delightful heroine, Ernestine will be sure to put “play” back on everyone’s agenda, demonstrating that everyone needs the joy of play and the simple wonders of childhood in today’s overscheduled world.

Themes in this story

Importance of play, Over-scheduling, Imagination, Mindfulness, Balance

Questions

  • How did the characters change from the beginning to the end of the story?
  • Why do you think Ernestine decided to take a day off from her scheduled activities? Use at least two details from the story to explain your response.

The Busy Life of Ernestine Buckmeister Interactive Video