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The Night Iceberg

Posted on Jun 10, 2010

Helen Stephens
(Alison Green Books)

Tofta has a new baby brother and she is not too happy about having to share everything with him, including her bedroom. She is feeling very grumpy and when she sees an iceberg passing by her window, she decides to hop on and make it a place of her very own. But she has not accounted for its present inhabitants and it soon becomes obvious that Tofta is not alone when a penguin appears from the other side and makes it fairly clear the iceberg is his as far as he is concerned. They ignore one another for a while, but Tofta becomes hungry and when she decides to tuck into her snack, this seems gets the penguin out of his sulk: he wants a share! Tofta is reluctant at first but eventually relents and is happily surprised by the penguin’s response to her kindness. Could it actually give you a nice feeling to share? However, soon after the penguin goes off and returns swiftly with five hundred of his friends! But Tofta finds herself more than content with their company, and enjoys many games with her new friends, before she eventually feels very tired and ready to go home. When she finally does, she can’t wait to share her iceberg adventure and the first person she wants to tell is … her baby brother!

This is a lovely night-time adventure story about learning to share and accepting a new sibling. Tofta is having trouble dealing with the arrival of her baby brother and this magical journey is first and foremost a journey of acceptance for Tofta and this will go a long way in reassuring any young child who is having to cope with a similar situation. Tofta is a typical toddler who gets really cross and Helen Stephens has captured perfectly the facial expressions of an angry tot. I really like Helen’s artwork. It has a real childlike quality and a touching simplicity which makes her books all the more attractive to their young audience. This particular story was inspired by Tove Jansson who also wrote about a little girl watching an iceberg floating past her window and there is a real Scandinavian feel to the book, especially in the colours used. You can nearly feel the pure, cold air passing through the pages.
 
We really enjoyed this story, and let’s be honest how can you not when the penguins are so seriously cute!

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