Monday, October 7, 2013

Twelve Kinds of Ice by Ellen Obed

Twelve Kinds of Ice by Ellen Bryan Obed is a nostalgic look at a New England winter through the eyes of a young skater.

From the first hint of ice on the water pail in the barn, through the last freeze in the spring, this book follows a family and their group of friends as they create an ice rink in their garden, complete with figure skating, ice hokey, and even a special performance near the end of the season. The descriptions are vivid and the prose is lovely, and the accompanying illustrations by Barbara McClintock complete the story nicely. The chapters are more vignettes than stories, and characters are not distinguished individually. On one hand, this allows readers to insert themselves in the group of enthusiastic skaters, but readers looking for something with more of a narrative thrust will be disappointed. Ultimately, this book is more likely to appeal to nostalgic adults than to children.

(Reviewed from a copy borrowed through my library system.)


  1. Did love this one, but don't think children today would. Sigh.

    1. It does have an old-timey feel to it, though it's of recent publication. Maybe it's best suited to the young reader who loves classic series from the 19th and first half of the 20th century. I might have enjoyed this one, if it had been around when I was growing up. It's the sort of story I might have expected to find on a bookshelf at my grandmother's house, with my mother's old Trixie Belden books and What Katy Did.