A girl discovers a world of secret pets that exists only at night in this Swedish import.
When her mom says she can’t have a pet—a “real” pet, with fur—narrator Lucy goes to bed disappointed. But that night, she hears scratching in the wall by her bed. A purring voice tells her to guess its name and it will come to her. She whispers, “Silvring,” and a cat, who is outlined in white but otherwise invisible, crawls out onto Lucy’s bed. Silvring knows just what she needs and wants to do. They go outside and climb a tree and see other people out walking their own secret pets, all of which are unusual and dreamlike: fish in the air, a polar bear, and then a huge, dangerous, pink-and-red, flying creature walked by a robed figure in a beaked plague mask. Luckily, Silvring grows big too, and she protects Lucy. They return home tired, and Silvring is gone come morning, “Because during the day, the secret animals sleep inside the walls, hidden behind the wallpaper.” The watercolor-and-ink illustrations are skillfully rendered in deep blue and pink tones that effectively carry readers into Lucy’s nighttime fantasy, Silvring often just a suggestion of blue daubs on lighter blue. The story’s intense emotions of longing are impressively real. Lucy and her mother both present black; Lucy wears her hair in afro puffs.
A satisfying story by a talented artist. (Picture book. 5-9)