Twelve Kinds of Ice

Written by Ellen Bryan Obed
Illustrated by Barbara McClintock

  •  A Junior Library Guild Selection
  •  A Winter 2012-13 Kids’ Indie Next List Pick
  • Kirkus Best Children’s Books of 2012
  • Booklist’s Editors’ Choice list for 2012
  • NYPL 100 Titles for Reading & Sharing, 2012

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Written in a lyrical, almost poetic style, Obed’s memories evoke a longing for the simple hopes of a quieter age. Back in the days before the first question asked was not about what liability insurance a family has, families could still afford to be the centers for activities such as ice skating. From the beginning of the book to the end, the importance of the ice is enjoyed by the entire kid-populated neighborhood. Anticipation of the first ice was like waiting for Christmas. Preparations began with that first icy film on the top of a bucket of water. Soon, the ice became an inch thick. After that, barring thaws, steady progression toward a rink in the back yard was the order of the day. The rink was so popular that schedules had to be set up and a referee, in the form of Mom, enlisted. Of course, Dad was involved in building the rink and in the actual skating. He was also the star of the neighborhood ice show. In fact, the author dedicates the book to Dad. At the end of the season, the kids say goodbye to the ice and dream of next year.

McClintock’s illustrations, charming and realistic, complete the depiction of the neighborhood project and aid in comprehension of the ideas.

Third graders will enjoy learning about the many kinds of ice and the play involved with each. They also learn about an earlier time and the different kinds of skating. The themes of friendship and cooperation are especially encouraging for this age group. Reading activities could include learning more about the era or about ice skating. Kids could also choose a project of their own, with or without ice.

  • Twelve Kinds of IceTitle: Twelve Kinds of Ice
  • By: Ellen Bryan Obed
  • Illustrations by: Barbara McClintock
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
  • Reviewer: Sue Poduska
  • Hardcover, 64 pages
  • ISBN: 978-0-618-89129-0
  • Genre: Chapter book, Nostalgia
  • Lexile Score: 800

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