Friday, February 14, 2014

Twelve Kinds of Ice

I wish I could remember where I first saw a recommendation for Twelve Kinds of Ice. I vaguely recollect noticing the cover art back in the summer, then stumbling back upon it in early fall. By November, I had acquired a copy, largely based on the lovely illustrations, thinking that, at a mere 64 pages, this would make a wonderful snow day read. If you haven't been living under a rock, or a sunny beach on the southern hemisphere, you probably know that the entire east coast experienced a winter storm over the last few days. That flurry of snow out our windows was the setting by which we finally dove into Twelve Kinds of Ice.

I'm truly glad I saved this book for such a time. The black and white illustrations, the colorful prose, the sparkling descriptions of each kind of ice, and the adventures that await each new phase of winter read like a story my grandmother might tell, if I had a grandmother who lived anywhere north of the Mason-Dixon line where the winter seems stuck on repeat between ice kinds 1, 2, and 3. Sure, there are some reinforced stereotypes of figure-skating girls battling for ice rink time from the hockey-playing boys, but beyond that you find humorous anecdotes of a father who performs comic routines while smoothing the ice each evening, an elaborate ice show with grandiose performances, and even the melancholic thaw when the rink might only have a few feet of ice left for the lengthening, warming spring days. I'm unsure how many more snow days this winter might hold, but this story will remain on hand just in case.