Monday, February 25, 2013

Twelve Kinds of Ice

Twelve Kinds of Ice
by Ellen Bryan Obed; illustrations by Barbara McClintock
64 pages, ages 6 & up
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2012

One winter I remember grabbing skates and kids and heading over to my friend Raili’s. After days of rain, the run-off had flooded her field and a couple days of very cold temperatures had turned the surface hard and glassy. We skated up and down the gentle swells… who knew you could skate uphill?

We haven’t had any freezes like that lately – our winters seem to be warming up – so it was with great pleasure and anticipation that I snatched Twelve Kinds of Ice from the “just arrived in the mail” satchel and started reading.

“The first ice came on the sheep pails in the barn – a skim of ice so thin that it broke when we touched it.” First ice is special – it covers the mud puddles at the bottom of the road and tricks kids who are waiting for the school bus into testing it – and heading to the school office for a pair of dry socks.

Second ice…. you can pick that out of the tops of the pails “like panes of glass,” writes Ellen Obed. Third ice you can hit with the rake handle and it won’t break. There’s field ice and stream ice, black ice, garden ice and best of all – hockey ice.

Obed describes ice season through a series of vignettes, which Barbara McClintock accompanies with pen-and-ink drawings that add a touch of nostalgia. This is a fun book to read, especially when paired with hot cocoa and fuzzy slippers. Longer than a traditional picture book, but not quite a chapter book… lyrical and literary to the last ice.

Review copy provided by the publisher.

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