The oft-told tale of a child who yearns for a pet and a creature that craves a human gets a new twist when the latter is a baby glacier.
This chip—off a block named Cecilsmater—latches on to Ruby during a family vacation in Norway. The child’s classmates already taunt her about her unusual parents, so she really doesn't need a glacier tagging along behind her. Mrs. Small designs tiaras; Mr. Small creates topiaries. These artsy adults also tango on the front lawn, leaving Ruby mortified. Her main consolation is derived from the companionship of “The Three Jennifers,” dolls that look and dress exactly like Ruby. She shuns the loyal ice floe and ignores her parents’ encouragement, until Cecil performs a dramatic doll rescue during a thunderstorm—at great personal peril. Harvey’s alliteration adds humor to this saga of tension ’twixt the generations. “ ‘Welcome, Smalls,’ a blue-haired man named Sven sa[ys] severely,” when the family registers for snowmobiles in Horfensnufen. Potter’s watercolor caricatures, with their tiny feet and restrained demeanors, enact their story in scenes with skewed perspectives and strong diagonals, choices that heighten the absurdity. Ultimately, Ruby learns to appreciate her pet’s coolness; consequently, she attracts a new friend, and in her newfound happiness, she relates more lovingly to her family.
Fans of Jenny Slate’s Marcel the Shell with Shoes On (2011) will find a kindred spirit in the stalwart glacier that eats pebbles and wears a tiara. (Picture book. 5-8)