A young penguin helps a drifting iceberg reunite with his family in this debut picture book.
One day, a penguin sees an iceberg floating all alone. Curious about the solitary iceberg, he swims over. At first, the iceberg is silent, but eventually the penguin realizes that he’s tremendously sad. The iceberg explains that he was swept out to sea, away from everyone he cares about. Determined to do something for his new friend, the penguin swims against the current that brought his pal and is surprised to find that the iceberg clan, complete with animal cohorts, is floating toward its missing family member. When they return to where the penguin left the lost one, the iceberg is gone—but after a moment, the bird realizes that his drifting friend has been transformed by the journey and now looks like a diamond, the light glimmering off newly crystalline edges. Mascarelli’s verse scans well, but sometimes the rhymes are a stretch and feel out of context within the setting: “I dive into the water / and swim by his side. / Next to the iceberg / I’m as small as a fly.” Readers who know something about Arctic and Antarctic critters will likely spot that the combination of animals hails from both places. Mascarelli and illustrator Grau offer a note in the front that they know these creatures don’t actually mix, but savvy readers may still question the inclusion. They may also wonder why icebergs have families or why it’s odd to see an isolated one. But young lap readers who haven’t yet encountered that type of science-based questioning should love Grau’s round-edged cartoon animals, especially the penguins with bow ties, and enjoy the iceberg’s beautiful transformation as well as his multishaped clan. The ending page, which shows several families (iceberg, penguin, and walrus) gathering together in happiness, is a heartwarming conclusion to a story light on conflict but full of love.
While it features some odd rhymes and a mishmash of cold-climate animals, this tale delivers a strong message that celebrates the joys of working hard to assist a new friend.