cover image Clancy and Millie and the Very Fine House

Clancy and Millie and the Very Fine House

Libby Gleeson, illus. by Freya Blackwood, Little Hare (IPG, dist.), $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-921541-19-3

Australians Gleeson and Blackwood, who previously collaborated on Half a World Away, portray with sensitivity a small boy's ambivalence about moving to a new house. " ‘It's a very fine dwelling,' says Clancy's father. ‘It's too big,' whispers Clancy." Blackwood exaggerates the building's imposing exterior and its rooms, with towering walls, windows that seem miles away, and chilly gray expanses of floor, emphasizing the enormity of the move for Clancy. Smaller insets picture the family's old house: "Clancy remembers the skylight and the moon." When Millie, a neighbor, finds Clancy sitting moodily in a moving box, the two begin a game of Three Little Pigs: "[T]his is my house of bricks and the big bad wolf can't come in," Clancy explains, piling moving boxes high. Blackwood signals their seriousness and Clancy's changing feelings by drawing the house they construct on the same monumental scale as those that surround it. "It's a very fine dwelling," Clancy says, surveying its teetering, sky-high turrets. Though the story deals with a particular childhood dilemma, Clancy's feelings are conveyed with a dignity that should appeal to a wide audience. Ages 3–6. (Nov.)