Twelve Kinds of Ice
by Ellen Bryan Obed, illustrations by Barbara McClintock, published 2012
“The first ice came on the sheep pails in the barn- a skim of ice so thin that it broke when we touched it.”
From the opening moment of this children’s book, I felt transported to somewhere, someplace, sometime, that had only goodness and beauty in it. Twelve Kinds of Ice is a small, inspiring ode to the beauty and simplicity of ice, ice-skating, children, nature, and simple living. The book is filled with gentle, inspiring pen-and-ink drawings, and each of the chapters is short and enticing. I felt like I was reading an extended poem. At the same time, I learned quite a bit about how ice forms in the countryside, from grass, to streams, to fields.
I haven’t run across such an understated children’s book in a while. I don’t know if it reminds me of any other children’s book, and yet it is hauntingly familiar in the feeling it evokes. We simply journey through the season, watching the ice transform itself from delicate to solid enough to skate on, back to melting puddles. Unidentified children lead us through the seasonal journey, as we join them in their hockey and figure skating.
If you are looking for a sweet and simple bedtime children’s book, especially if you live in a climate where the temperature is cold enough for water to freeze, I highly recommend Twelve Kinds of Ice. This is an excellent children’s book for Waldorf parents or Waldorf school classroom libraries, especially in colder climates.