Twelve Kinds of Ice (Hardcover)
November 2012 Indie Next List
“While some grumble about the cold, others wait for their breath to become frosty, for the air to feel silver with ice and cold. Obed captures this feeling, distilling the essence of winter into poetic prose. She traces winter by marking each type of ice that forms and the fun one can have on it. Every sentence begs to be read aloud, and McClintock's illustrations are exquisite. Twelve Kinds of Ice is a wintertime gem, perfect for slipping into a mittened hand, curling up with beside a fire, or tucking into a stocking.”
— Marika McCoola, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA
This is a joyful, spirited gem of a book, as bracing and glorious as a perfect stretch of ice. Newbery Honor author Joyce Sidman
With the first ice a skim on a sheep pail so thin it breaks when touched one family's winter begins in earnest. Next comes ice like panes of glass. And eventually, skating ice Take a literary skate over field ice and streambed, through sleeping orchards and beyond. The first ice, the second ice, the third ice . . . perfect ice . . . the last ice . . . Twelve kinds of ice are carved into twenty nostalgic vignettes, illustrated in elegantly scratched detail by the award-winning Barbara McClintock.
About the Author
Ellen Bryan Obed grew up on a six-acre farm in Waterville, Maine, where she and her siblings waited for the first ice as most children wait for summer or Christmas or a birthday.
Ellen now lives with her husband in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine. There they experience many kinds of ice coming each winter to area streams, lakes, and ponds, and to the nearby Piscataquis River.
I was born in Clinton, New Jersey, and lived there with my parents, my older sister, and our cat, DeeDee. My grandparents lived seven miles from our house and were an important part of my growing up. Our house was modern -- white carpeting, linoleum floors, large picture windows, and the prerequisite Danish modern furniture. My grandparents lived in an eighteenth-century stone farmhouse with Victorian furniture and odd stuff from their travels: Mexican Day of the Dead masks, Kabuki masks, African beaded tablecloths, gaucho spurs from Argentina. They also had a library with deep, comfy chairs. My grandmother had her special floor-to-ceiling bookcase full of her collection of books by women authors. I was drawn to the comfort and charm of my grandparents' home. It caught my imagination and has never let go. My family moved to North Dakota when I was nine, but those early years living near my grandparents in New Jersey had a profound effect on my life and work.
My parents owned a portrait photography studio -- my dad took pictures with his large wooden bellows camera, and my mother colored the black-and-white photos with oil paints, brushes, and Q-tips.
Music was a very important part of family life. On Sundays we listened to everything from Wagner's Ring Cycle to Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey to "The Monster Mash." My dad sang along with everything. My mother sewed most of our clothes; she also drew for us, and read to us, and admonished us to get away from the TV and go outside to invent our own world of play.
My earliest memory is of lying on my stomach, a crayon in each hand, drawing large circles. I always loved telling stories with my pictures, or making pictures to accompany the stories I invented. I made my first comic strip when I was four on a scrap of wallpaper. It was a cat sliding down a banister and landing on a hat. My mother wrote the words in the word balloons for me. I loved picture books and comics and animated cartoons. I spent so many hours drawing and writing and making comic books that by the time I was in the second grade I had a prominent callus on my index finger from holding pencils and crayons. I was a daydreamer -- much of my school day involved staring out the window of the classroom. Nothing was as interesting as the characters and dramas and images in my mind. When I was seven, I knew I would be an artist when I grew up -- but what kind of artist? I asked my sister and she replied, "Be a children's book illustrator, of course!" My destiny was set.
Barbara McClintock attended Jamestown College in North Dakota until, at nineteen, she moved to New York City to begin her career as an illustrator and author. She now lives in New Canaan, Connecticut, with her son and her fiance.
"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