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Cecil the Pet Glacier

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  269 ratings  ·  78 reviews
In a starred review Publishers Weekly raves: "It’s an avant-garde, surrealist story with a Hollywood-style tearjerker lurking within—and a surprisingly charming and affecting one at that."

Award-winning poet Matthea Harvey and illustrator extraordinaire Giselle Potter team up to create an indescribably unique picture book about wanting to be normal, then coming to appreciat
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published August 14th 2012 by Schwartz & Wade (first published January 1st 2012)
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i love matthea harvey. i was so excited to see she had a book i had never heard of, i didn't even care that is was a picture book instead of another shiny book of poetry. she manages to make even books for little people as enchanting and eerie as her adult work.

this is a story of a little girl who just wants to be normal, but is saddled with two eccentric parents: her father designs topiary animals, and her mother makes tiaras. they drink milk-and-cokes, play ping-pong on airplanes, and take exo
This might be the most eccentric picture book I have ever read. I need to share it with students. I'll report back.
This book is weird. That's the only way I know to say it. And the main reason is the illustrations. I mean, the story is weird, absolutely, but it's fun in a quirky sort of way. Ruby's mom is a tiara designer? Cool. And there are some really funny lines, as well. But these illustrations...ick. They are not attractive (at least, not to me). I really don't like them at all. That glacier? Looks like a pile of bleached poo. Nasty. I just don't like 'em.

But here's the thing: Mo Willems could have pul
Yes, yes YES! If I authored a picture book...this would be it. Odd, unique, silly, sarcastic full of strange details that make it work. LOVED it. Who wouldn't? You've got your standard family...creepy daughter carries around 3 identical-to-her dolls named "The Three Jennifers," mom is a tiara designer and dad hacks hedges until they look like anteaters! Perfection! Throw in a tour guide named Sven, a rather stalker-esque small frozen chunk of Scandanavian ice that needs groomed each evening (dar ...more
Edward Sullivan
The care and feeding of a pet glacier. Yes, a pet glacier. Whimsically surreal.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ruby just wants to be normal. But this is a challenge with unusual parents like hers...her dad makes topiaries and her mom makes (and wears) tiaras. They waltz in the yard. Things go from bad to worse when they take a family vacation to Finland and Ruby gets a unwanted pet glacier that follows her home (she was hoping for a dog.) Her parents take good care of the glacier, but she wants nothing to do with it. Until one day there is a bad storm and one of her dolls (the three Jennifers) g ...more
Laura Harrison
Probably one of the wierder ideas for a picture book but it totally works!
Jan 07, 2015 Amy added it
Shelves: j-picture-books
I know this book is great, because it actually made me want a pet glacier! Ruby is a very ordinary little girl, and is embarrassed by her flamboyant parents: Her father is a topiary artist, and her mother is a tiara designer. Never ones to follow the status quo, Ruby’s parents decide that their family will vacation in Norway. One of the attractions they visit is a huge glacier called Cecilsmater, which happens to be shedding little baby glaciers. Already mortified by her kooky parents, Ruby can’ ...more
I chose this as part of an assignment for my children's lit class: read a real book and an ebook to some children, rope them in from the streets in necessary! The six-year-old twins and their eight-year-old sister who were passing by in my neighborhood were easily bribed with leftover snicker-doodle cupcakes from the best Friendsgiving of all time, despite the melting frosting. Maybe the mess was part of the appeal, who knows.

So we read the story of Cecil, a baby glacier who attaches himself to
I read this while at the Half-Price Bookstore.
I don't really like the way the glacier is drawn though.
Especially on the cover, I wonder if someone glancing at it would get the wrong idea.
I think the glacier should have been drawn more angular, instead of looking, well, like ice excrement.
On the cover illustration especially I would think this is a story of a girl who poops ice.
Silly, I know, but so is this book.
Maria Burel
I’ve become quite attracted to these quirky, off-beat picture books. Ruby Small, a normal girl, and her not-so-normal parents drive the motion of this story, complemented by a glacier whose personality is so like that of a loyal puppy that you forget that it’s really, well… a big hunk of ice. I was appreciative of the artwork, though not my personal style. Really unique book.
Sherry Schwabacher
Charming story of a girl whose parents are different (and embarassing!). On a vacation to Norway she finds herself the owner of a very different pet. Her acceptance of her pet's love finally shows her that it is okay to be different. Giselle Potter's illustrations are perfectly matched with the tone of Harvey's prose.
Benji Martin
This book is delightful. A glacier follows a girl home, after her family's trip to Norway. Perfect for a 2nd or a 3rd grade storytime. The kids loved it. It was a little tricky to read out loud in some places, but the 2nd time I read it when I took my time was much better.
Almost unbearably strange, this amazing feat of whimsy by writer Harvey is accompanied by pitch-perfect illustrations by Potter. If you can't stand Maira Kalman, then you'll likely hate this one. I love them both!!!
Ruby Small is a normal girl with incredibly eccentric parents. Her mother makes lavish tiaras for a living and her father is a topiary gardener. When her father decides it's time for a vacation and suggests China, ruby says "no way" but her father hears Norway and decides it's perfect!

While on the plane to Norway Ruby asks her parents if she can have a pet. They suggest fleas and glowing fish. Ruby was thinking more of a dog. When they arrive in Norway, there first adventure is seeing the famous
Bizarre, fascinating, strange. This book - about a girl so desperate for a pet, who is saddled with a mini-glacier. This is so decidedly odd, I wondered if this was a foreign translation! Nope. It's American. Ruby Small likes to think of herself as an aggressively normal kid.It's not her fault that her father is a topiary artist, and her mother is a tiara designer. Relatively flat watercolor illustrations depict a straight-faced family amidst some pretty zany ideas with tongue-in-cheek humor. Wh ...more
Robert Beveridge
Matthea Harvey, Cecil the Pet Glacier (Schwarz and Wade, 2012)

I am a heap big fan of Matthea Harvey's poetry, so when I found out she'd written childrens' books, I immediately hit my library's website and put one on hold. And I was... surprised. It's a lot more, for want of a better word, traditional than I expected it to be. Well, aside from the fact that Ruby's would-be pet is a chunk of ice. But that fits in well with her family (trust me on this), and allows Harvey to slip in a bit o' learni
Caryn Caldwell
All Ruby wants is a normal childhood with normal friends and a normal pet - like a dog. But with her quirky parents tangoing across their front lawn, playing miniature ping pong games on airplanes, and eating their breakfast upside down, a normal life is hard to come by. Instead, Ruby spends countless hours playing with her identical dolls, The Three Jennifers. But on a trip to Norway, Ruby reluctantly ends up with a very strange pet, and it's not the nice, normal dog she wanted. It's a little g ...more
Cecil the Pet Glacier starts out by stating that "Ruby Small was a normal little girl." In fact, she so longs to be normal that she has three identical dolls named Jennifer. Unfortunately for Ruby, her parents are a bit eccentric. While on a family vacation in Norway, a glacier begins following Ruby around. Her parents encourage her to accept Cecil, the glacier, as the perfect pet but Ruby insists on rejecting him. Finally, one day at school, one of the Jennifers gets left in the rain and Cecil ...more
Well, the story, in of itself, was very creepy, solemn, unappealing, and just plain weird. Harvey’s story is about a so-called “normal,” very lonely girl named Ruby Small. Ruby is forced to go on vacation to Norway with her overly eccentric and negligent parents. While setting out on vacation, Ruby mentions to her parents that she would love to have a pet; specifically, she would like a pet dog. Instead, she comes home from her vacation with an unwanted, stalker-ish glacier named Cecil who aims ...more
Tenille Shade
So glad Mrs. Barnes recommended this quirky, delightful book to me. The whole time I was reading it, I thought of my unique little sister Trinitie, and her precious daughter, Sunflower. Trin walks to the beat of a different drum, and I love her creative side. I'm glad Rose discovered the beauty her parents attempted to instill her, and I love the message of the book, Embrace what makes you different! I will be buying this book for my niece and her mom in the near future!
I adore the illustrations by Giselle Potter, and delighted in the absurd little story with the most bizarrely wonderful picture-book-parents ever.
Ruby's mother creates tiaras and her father makes strange topiary but Ruby just wants to be normal. While she has her dolls to keep her company, she would like a nice pet, too. On vacation it seems Ruby's wish has come true when a tiny glacier follows her home. But a glacier is not what Ruby had in mind for a pet. The little glacier, named Cecil, is beloved by Ruby's parents, but it will take quite a feat indeed for Cecil to convince Ruby of his place in the family. Giselle Potter's illustration ...more
Sara Lemonade
One of the very strangest books we've ever read together but mostly charming and enjoyable.
This is the most bizarrely charming picture book I've read for awhile. As an adult, I loved it. As a 2.5 year old, Pete sighed dramatically and laid down because he was super-bored. But I think it would be fantastic for older picture-book kids and their parents because really, a picture book any adult can enjoy for its pure off-the-wall craziness. Just that rare gem of a book that a 4-6 year old and their parent can enjoy.

EVERY character is awesome...even Sven the Norwegian Guide. And who knew a
Supercute!! My daughter identified with the main character
Cecil has a rather cold personality, and ironically, the glacier warms her personality up. I think it is a great book to illustrate imaginative writing within a 4th grade unit on geology to lighten things up
A strange, but endearing story.
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Matthea Harvey is the author of three books of poetry--Modern Life, Sad Little Breathing Machine and Pity the Bathtub Its Forced Embrace of the Human Form, and one children's book, The Little General and the Giant Snowflake. She teaches at Sarah Lawrence and lives in Brooklyn.
More about Matthea Harvey...
Modern Life Pity the Bathtub Its Forced Embrace of the Human Form Sad Little Breathing Machine Of Lamb If the Tabloids Are True What Are You?

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