Thursday, November 29, 2012

Book talk: Twelve Kinds of Ice by Ellen Bryan Obed (Newbery 2013 contender)

When you see the title of this novel - Twelve Kinds of Ice - you might be confused. Twelve kinds of ice? Actually, yes. The kids in this novel are used to cold weather, but they wait all year for ice. Ice lets you explore, play, skate, and create.

Field ice is the first sign that ice is serious about sticking around. Sure, you can't skate on it, but it's nature's way of telling you that real winter is moving in. [Show picture on p. 15]. Those kids on the bus are not going to be able to concentrate at school now, I'll bet. 

Imagine that you could turn your summertime vegetable garden into a skating rink in winter. That's garden ice, and it's so much fun. First, you level the ground, creating a smooth surface with no bumps. Next you get your ice rink boards from the barn, and you pack snow over that before you turn on your water ice to create an upper level of ice. Voila: your own ice stadium, with the sky as your roof. The other kids can't wait: they all show up - the whole neighborhood - and there's even a schedule: the girls can figure skate from 3:30-4:30, and then the boys can play ice hockey from 4:30-5:30. Everyone argues about whose turn it is to sweep the ice, of course. Ice can be a lot of work, you know, but it's worth it.

There are other worlds of ice: some mundane, like the first ice you find in the pail, and some more mysterious, like dream ice and black ice.

Twelve Kinds of Ice by Ellen Bryan Obed, illustrations by Barbara McClintock. 61 pages. 2012: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children. Booktalk to grades 2-6. Newbery contender: 2013.

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