Catherine Rayner’s moose-ily delightful picture book, Ernest, is all sweetness. It is about Ernest, a rather large moose, who cannot manage to display his whole self on the pages of this book. But he is determined, and he has a chipmunk assistant who keeps him company and comes up with a few ideas to get his big buddy portrayed from top to bottom.
I like the simple style of Rayner’s illustrations, and Ernest’s placid expression as he keeps on trying to get himself in there. It cracks me up that the background on each page has a teeny tiny graph paper design, all the better for measuring a giant-sized moose. The whole book is really a study in less is more, as so much of the tale rests on is the facial expressions of the two friends and their positions on the page. You’ll love the end.
This is the sort of picture book that makes you wonder how long it took the author/illustrator to work out the concept and develop the images. Though it seems simple in concept and design, I’ll bet it took far longer than one might think to make it this perfect.
Ernest is published by Macmillan Children’s Books.