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Twelve Kinds of Ice Hardcover – November 6, 2012
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*Starred Review* Everything about this small book is precise. Twenty short chapters introduce the different kinds of ice that take one family through the winter, while McClintock’s pen-and-ink drawings, subtle yet celebratory, capture ice in all its incarnations. The first ice, you see, is a skim so thin it breaks when the children touch it. Second ice is like glass. But third ice doesn’t break. The narrator and her sister hear it coming: “We lay in our beds, listening to the cold cracking the maple limbs in the yard.” Field ice arrives as a narrow strip. Then stream ice, when you can watch fish swim beneath the surface. Black ice is a little scarier, but it’s good for skating. After the first snowfall, skating can be done at home on garden ice, made by packing the snow and turning on the hose. So it goes throughout the winter, as the family garden becomes a neighborhood hockey rink. When it’s perfect, it’s time for a skating party. Finally, the ice is gone. Lost mittens and pucks appear. But dream ice still exists—and you can skate on it no matter what the season. Evocative and at the same time marvelously real, this is as much about expectation and the warmth to be found in family and friends as it is about cold ice. Children who don’t live in a cold climate will wish they did, and everyone will find this a small gem. Grades 4-7. --Ilene Cooper
- 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
“[A] perfect snowflake of a book. . . this is a book about a young woman’s deep connection to nature and her family, but also the thrilling reward of pitching in together to create something magical”
—New York Times Book Review
“Snug and elegant, evocative and fun, Ellen Bryan Obed's memoir from her childhood winters in Maine skates along in an aesthetic pas de deux, as you might say, with Barbara McClintock's graceful black-and-white drawings.”
—The Wall Street Journal
"Evocative and at the same time marvelously real, this is as much about expectation and the warmth to be found in family and friends as it is about cold ice . . . Everyone will find this a small gem."
—Booklist, starred review
—Kirkus, starred review
"This is a celebration of play, of winter, and of imagination . . . in an icy collection whose overarching quality is warmth."
"Like a souvenir from a bygone era . . . Today's readers will marvel at the old-fashioned amusements, chronicled with folksy charm."
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Delicate pen-and-ink illustrations enhance the action, emotions, and humor of each short description of ice and frost goings-on. . . . [A] brief but unforgettable volume."
—School Library Journal, starred review
"The rituals and humor connected with a timeless childhood experience unspool seemingly without effort from author and artist in this intimate volume."
—Shelf Awareness, starred review
“This is a joyful, spirited gem of a book, as bracing and glorious as a perfect stretch of ice.”
—Newbery Honor author Joyce Sidman
"A book like this one doesn’t come along every day. Would that they did.”
—Betsy Bird, Fuse#8 blogger
"Obed's prose is crystalline: clear, pure, and entrancing. But the real subject of the book is not ice, but happiness; a happiness so contagious that readers of all ages will close the book with a sigh."
—Laura Amy Schlitz, Newbery Medal winner of Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village
"Ellen Bryan Obed's prose transported me to my own childhood of all kinds of ice-some very dirty and bad, others grand and ethereal-nevertheless, all full of adventure, reminding me, too, of the great joy of winter. The beauty of Obed's prose is matched perfectly by McClintock's art. Who else could make a chilly subject look so warm? It is a marvelous book."
—Chris Raschka, Caldecott Medal Winner of The Hello, Goodbye Window
"Twelve Kinds of Ice is a wonderful book. Ellen Bryan Obed's storytelling voice is magical, and with Barbara McClintock's delightful and evocative art the book creates an atmosphere as sharp and fresh as the winters of childhood and as satisfying as our happiest memories."
—Reeve Lindbergh, author of Our Nest
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Obed has a knack for capturing the experiences as they unfold through the seasons and the anticipation of children as they wait for the next comforting cycle of events. The illustrations are delightful and the pairing of this author and illustrator is a great creative match.