cover image Cecil the Pet Glacier

Cecil the Pet Glacier

Matthea Harvey, illus. by Giselle Potter. Random/Schwartz & Wade, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-375-86773-6

Potter’s (The Orphan: A Cinderella Story from Greece) eerie, solemn portraits are an inspired choice for Harvey’s (The Little General and the Giant Snowflake) tale of a misunderstood child and her equally misunderstood glacier. Lonely Ruby has flamboyantly eccentric parents who run a topiary and tiara business; their cheerful displays of weirdness embarrass her daily. A family trip to Norway nets Ruby a pet, a pint-size glacier named Cecil who follows her everywhere; Ruby—who wanted a dog—scorns him. When she locks Cecil out of her room, “He would nudge the door, leaving a wet patch below the doorknob. After a bit, he would slide sadly back to his cooler.” Cecil will charm readers from the start, but it’s not until he performs a daring rescue—and nearly melts in the process—that Ruby realizes how wrong she’s been. “Help!” she orders, calling for his staple food. “I need some ice water and a plate of pebbles!” It’s an avant-garde, surrealist story with a Hollywood-style tearjerker lurking within—and a surprisingly charming and affecting one at that. Ages 4–8. Agent: Sara Crowe, Harvey Klinger. (Aug.)