Accompanied by Rebecca Syracuse's bold, whimsical artwork, Lisa Wyzlic's debut picture book Harold the Iceberg Melts Down is all about the importance of friendship and self-care, perfect for any young reader worried about their planet's future.
Harold is an iceberg . . . lettuce. (But he doesn't realize the "lettuce" part because part of his sticker has ripped off.) So one day when he sees a documentary about how the icebergs are melting, Harold starts to worry, thinking that he's melting too.
As his anxiety grows and grows, and he tries to find a way to stop melting, his fellow food friends try to help him cool down in a different way.
A refrigerator denizen's misunderstanding becomes a call to action in this author and illustrator debut, a punny tale of food friends tackling anxiety and climate change. Harold, a head of iceberg lettuce known for his worrywart ways, comes unglued when he watches a documentary about the world's quickly melting icebergs, the image of which matches a crumpled produce sticker on his behind: "I am an iceberg. See?" A different kind of meltdown ensues as Harold rattles off factoids while becoming increasingly distressed: "Did you know the icebergs are MELTING? At an ALARMING RATE?!" Supportive foodstuffs try to help, but nothing works until a bok choy buddy offers reassurance, clarifying Harold's reality. Newly recharged and still concerned, Harold recruits his fellow fridge pals in crafting a plan to save "MY COUSINS!"--the other icebergs in crisis. With humor and a light touch, Wyzlic balances brief expository passages with emotional dialogue. Syracuse's digitally rendered anthropomorphic foods feature noodly stick limbs, expressive eyes, and enjoyable edible details, among them a chair made of bread and olives, a butter-stick TV stand, and a hot-sauce mustache. Back matter offers tips for combating climate change. Ages 3-6. Author's agent: Natascha Morris, Tobias Literary. (Mar.)Copyright 2023 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.
Gr 1-2--Calm down, climate change collections, this one's not for you. Harold is iceberg lettuce, but his label is illegible, and when he watches a documentary about icebergs melting, his natural state of worry goes into overdrive. He thinks it's about him. The other vegetables, his friends and allies, attempt to help, but honestly, Harold is something of a scene-stealer and decides that if all the other icebergs are gigantic and he is small, he must be in super peril. He heads for the freezer, but it is blocked. The back of the fridge is too sticky, and disguising himself so "warmth" won't find him doesn't work either. Blowing bubbles calms him down. Finally, the bok choy gets through to Harold, now in the middle of a full-blown panic attack, and reminds him that he is lettuce, which does not melt. The characters, googly-eyed vegetables with loads of digitally acquired personality, are charming, more than charitable, and children will love the adventure though maybe not the chaos. VERDICT With a list in the back for combatting climate change and another for calming down in case of anxiety, this is a well-intentioned debut, but likely an additional purchase.--Kimberly Olson FakihCopyright 2023 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
Praise for Harold the Iceberg Melts Down:"A punny tale of food friends tackling anxiety and climate change ... With humor and a light touch, Wyzlic balances brief expository passages with emotional dialogue. Syracuse's digitally rendered anthropomorphic foods feature noodly stick limbs, expressive eyes, and enjoyable edible details, among them a chair made of bread and olives, a butter-stick TV stand, and a hot-sauce mustache." —Publishers Weekly "Wyzlic tackles eco-anxiety at a kid-friendly level, and cartoony Harold and his fridge friends soften the reality of a crisis that even younger readers are beginning to realize as dire. Despite Harold's misread on his own danger in the iceberg situation, the book doesn't mock or downplay his anxiety, but it does emphasize that worrying to the state of paralysis isn't going to do anyone any good: 'Harold was so focused on his impending doom that they couldn't get through to him.' ... There's very much a 'keep calm and carry on' message here that, when paired with the real actionable items provided at the end of the book, gives some amount of agency to the generation that will be most impacted by the changing climate." —The Bulletin "The stratagems for handling stress are useful, and the colorful, cartoonish digital illustrations are energetic and expressive. ... Fun, with worthwhile points raised. It may even get some kids to try lettuce." —Kirkus Reviews