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Children's Fiction Visionary & Metaphysical

The Ladder

by (author) Halfdan Rasmussen

translated by Marilyn Nelson

illustrated by Pierre Pratt

Candlewick Press
Initial publish date
Jun 2006
Visionary & Metaphysical, Poetry (see also Stories in Verse), General
Recommended Age
4 to 8
Recommended Grade
p to 3
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2006
    List Price

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Where to buy it


A curious ladder inadvertently becomes a pathway to the clouds in this droll, interactive translation of an enchanting Danish poem.

So first it did a little dance,
then it did a little prance,
then, as nicely as you please,
it waddled off with stiff red knees.

Once there was a jaunty ladder, abandoned by a mysterious carpenter, that sprung to life and decided to take a trip through the countryside. As time passed, the gentle ladder found itself intrigued by a seriesof encounters with people and animals that climbed it to the top and disappeared into the sky, only to return, one by one, in a triumphant parade at the end. This exquisite edition of THE LADDER, the text of which was originally written by renowned Danish poet Halfdan Rasmussen, combines a translation by award-winning author and poet Marilyn Nelson with simple, striking artwork by Pierre Pratt, featuring several foldouts and partial pages in a charming, whimsical design.

About the authors

Contributor Notes

Halfdan Rasmussen’s poetry is a fundamental part of the children's literary canon in Denmark; his works are constantly being republished, and many have been set to music. While Rasmussen’s children’s verse is loved for its infectious rhyme, his adult-oriented writing is deeply concerned with social issues and human rights. Sadly, Halfdan Rasmussen passed away in 2002, but prior to his death, he granted Ms. Nelson express permission to produce English versions of his works.

Marilyn Nelson is an award-winning author and poet for adults and children. The recipient of a Newbery Honor for Carver: A Life in Poems, she is also a professor of English at the University of Connecticut at Storrs and Poet Laureate of the State of Connecticut.
Pierre Pratt was the first ever recipient of the UNICEF/Bologna Book Fair Illustrator of the Year prize. He lives in Quebec, Canada.

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