Monday, March 11, 2013

Middle Grade Monday--Ice

 It's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe and What Are You Reading? day at Teach Mentor Texts. Both sites have lots of links to reviews about books that are great for the 4th through 8th grader. It's also Nonfiction Monday, hosted this week at Sally's Bookshelf.

Ice!: The Amazing History of the Ice Business Pringle, Lawrence. Ice: The Amazing History of the Ice Business
1 October 2012, Calkins Creek Books

This is why children need nonfiction reading! They can't experience everything in the world, but they CAN read about it! Few of my students today even have grandparents would be able to tell them what an ice card is, or how an ice box worked. I certainly had no idea how widespread an industry supplying ice was in the 1800s! Pringle has done an excellent job of explaining why the need for ice arose, how people met it technologically and practically, and why the industry waned. Details about tools needed, how ice was stored, delivered and used make this absolutely fascinating. To make it even more fun, it was dedicated to Sneed Collard, whose Cartwheel I just reviewed!

Thinking about ice cards made me think of a fun activity to introduce historical fiction. How many of the items shown below can you identify? I'm going to gather them in a box and make classes guess what they are. And yes, I had all of these items in my home and use all but the first!

From top left: Butter paddle, spool holder with pincushion and place for thimbles, typewriter eraser, tomato juicer, clothes brush.

Twelve Kinds of Ice Obed, Ellen Bryan. Twelve Kinds of Ice.
6 November 2012, Houghton Mifflin Books for Children

Well, I can't possibly review this as well as Betsy Bird at School Library Journal. This is a beautiful little book about winter with wonderful illustrations by Barbara McClintock that remind me of Joe and Beth Krush, my all time favorites. It talks about the stages that winter takes, in the form of the ice that appears and how the children wait eagerly for skating. Having grown up in the '70s when there were some long, cold winters and lots of ice skating, I adored this. It's a bit young for middle school, sadly, but elementary schools should definitely take a look.


  1. I love your idea of using objects to introduce historical fiction books. I've had Twelve Kinds of Ice on my to read list for a while. I'm going to look for the nonfiction one you shared. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I, too, think your historical fiction intro idea was wonderful - and Ice looks like a perfect addition to my nonfiction collection, slowly but surely growing thanks to these Monday shares!

  3. Now, I would not be drawn to a nonfiction book titled Ice! but you have me interested. I love your activity idea, although I'm thinking I might need an answer key. I think students would love to do this.

  4. Anonymous9:42 AM EDT

    Those photos bring back some memories. I haven't thought of--or seen--a typewriter eraser in eons!

    Thanks for the great book tips,


  5. I love Pringle's book. I also love your pictures of items you might use to introduce historical fiction. Typewriter erasers! Where did you find those?

  6. I missed the butter paddle ad the spool holder - although if I'd had a close enough look to see the pincushion I'd surely have gotten that one.

    I read Twelve Kinds of Ice after I read Betsy's review and couldn't stop pointing out the different kinds to my husband for days! Such a sweet book.

  7. What a great idea to show items for historical fiction books. I love this idea. The ice books look great.

  8. Twelve Kinds of Ice was a delight to read. It almost makes me wish to live where I could have 12 kinds of ice and have a homemade skating rink.

  9. I couldn't guess even one of these :)) But it sure got me hooked. It will definitely work for kids. And yes, so true about what you wrote about nonfiction and kids.
    thanks for sharing!

  10. Twelve Kinds of Ice looks like something I'd enjoy greatly. First I heard of it was from Linda Baie of Teacher Dance and I just know that I'd have to find it. Will check out the other review that you were also raving about. I like the activity you shard here as well - very nice! My 11 year old daughter would be having a historical fiction activity in class soon, will share this post of yours with her. :)

  11. I love both these books! At first glance I wondered how one could write an entire book about Ice. Leave it to Pringle to make it engaging and fun to read.

  12. There's no way I would have known that was a butter paddle. But I certainly recognized the typewriter eraser. I used to have one of those!

    I've heard so much about these books. Really should read more nonfiction.

  13. I would never have been able to name those items! I agree that books give kids experiences they might never get to have outside of books. Both books look great...even though I'm kind of over ice and snow and cold weather...I'm ready for summer! :) Thanks for sharing!

  14. I absolutely love microhistories, and as a Canadian ice is especially important to me. This looks fantastic.

    But what a huge contraption that tomato juicer was!