Twelve Kinds of Ice by Ellen Bryan Obed, illustrated by Barbara McClintoc

twelve kinds of ice

Long winter nights are now upon us and I have the perfect book for family reading snuggled up by the fireplace. I love finding the perfect read-aloud and am so excited to share this new one with you. Twelve Kinds of Ice brings the magic of family and homemade fun to life. It has a beautiful, melodic rhythm that will lull your family members into peaceful dreams- not full of sugar plums, mind you, but full of figure skating and hot chocolate and melting marshmallow comfort.

This is a magical story of a family that waits for all the subtle signs of winter, so that they can have fun together on the ice. It speaks of Little Women and ‘old-fashioned’ happiness. It makes me long for the simplicity that reminiscing brings to the hard work of creating lasting memories. It reminds me of some of the favorite things of my early years…

I spent some of my childhood at the local ice rink dreaming of becoming a figure skater. The rink closed down at just about the same time I learned to skate backward, so my dreams didn’t take off (but that was the only thing that stopped me, I promise!). One winter, the road froze over in front of our house and we spent a delightful evening shoveling off the top layer of snow and skating around on our instant ice rink. Under the cozy cloud-filled sky laying winter down upon us like a farm maid shaking out a feather bed, I was my own star. Unfortunately, I grew up in a place where winter snows usually melt by afternoon instead of staying for the duration as they do in Maine at the Bryan Gardens Ice Rink Under the Sky in Obed’s book.

I loved this book and plan to snuggle up with my loved ones around the fireplace and share it’s magic with them. I hope you like it as much as I do!

*I received a review copy of this book.


Book ideas for Boys for Christmas Gifts

This post is a copy of an email I sent to a friend in response to her request for help to find good books for her Nephew this Christmas. It is by no means comprehensive, but hopefully there is something on here you haven’t heard before.
secrets of droon
One series that my kids have loved is Secrets of Droon. It’s a magical series about the same reading level or a little above the Magic Tree House, but it reminds me more of a mild Harry Potter. There are tons of books in the series and I’m sure you could find a lot of them to keep a voracious budding reader occupied for awhile.
Another series that my kids have liked starting around 3rd grade is Animorphs. It’s a story of some friends who are fighting an alien invasion of Earth. This series has been around for a long time as well, so there should be quite a few books available and you can sometimes find great deals on them at thrift stores and yard sales.
warriors cats of the clan
If he likes animal books, your nephew would probably like the Warrior Cats of the Clan books by Erin Hunter. There are a few different series that have sprouted off from this so, again- there are lots of books and the girls I know who’ve read them like them just as much as the boys.
 origami yoda
My kids have loved Origami Yoda and Darth Paper.
darth paper
The main characters are in middle school, so some of the situations are more appropriate to middle school than elementary, but nothing I had major issues with- I read them aloud at bedtime to all my boys. There was a lot of boy humor and we laughed a lot. There is a new one out called the Secret of the Fortune Wookie, which also promises to be full of laughs.
fortune wookie
More series to consider are:
Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins, author of Hunger Games (This is geared to a younger audience than Hunger games, but there’s still war and fighting)- 5 books:
gregor the overlander
Redwall (again, quite a bit of violence but I’m pretty sure I read it in 3rd or 4th grade)
Cabin Creek Mysteries series and lots of other books by Kristiana Gregory
blizzard on blue mountain
Chronicles of Narnia
chronicles of narnia
Partick Carmen’s Land of Elyon Books – make sure to start with the prequel for boys- since the 4-book series has a girl as a main character, and the prequel starts out with two boys. For some reason boys tend to be more hesitant to read books with girls as the main characters- but these are some of my favorites!
into the mist
Chris D’Lacey’s Dragon books (lots of global warming allusions in this one, but these are all really long big books I think there are 6 of them, so they should take up a lot of reading time for those insatiable readers.)


I also really like Margaret Peterson Haddix- but these are probably too old as well for him at this point
The Candy Shop War- this is one my 4th grader is currently reading and it’s an excellent read-aloud (the book on cd is awesome!). The second book was just released and I’m pretty sure it will become a longer series.
candy shop war
arcade catastrophe
You are welcome to check out our reviews on some of these books (we haven’t reviewed all of them) the easiest way is to search for them by title or author in the search bar at the top of this page. We try to categorize them but don’t always specifically mark them as boy or girl. I try to encourage my boys to read books that are written about girls, but that doesn’t always go over well. Actually, it almost never does, but it doesn’t hurt to keep trying to educate them, right? Here’s a link to our boy category. It’s not age specific, and doesn’t include everything:
A few random books we’ve enjoyed lately- Fart Powder:Bubbles in the Bathtub
fart powder
 Captain Nobody by Dean Pitchford (awesome audio book).
captain nobody
I hope you find success in sharing reading with the boys you love! What series or books do your boys love to read?

Wrapped by Jennifer Bradbury audio book read by Elissa Steele

Wrapped is a great audio book for teen girls- I’m sure it’s great in written form as well, but I listened to it and loved it out loud. Agnes Wilkins is a beautiful young woman about to make her debut on London’s high society. She is invited to a mummy unwrapping party and discovers that she has stumbled upon a mystery when she is chosen to cut into the ancient mummy wrappings.

While standing still for endless hours being fitted for top-secret ball gowns Agnes spouts off Jane Austen quotes in multiple languages, much to the chagrin of her mother. Of course, in keeping with Jane Austen’s most famous decree that every single, wealthy man is in want of a wife, Agnes is expected to be snatched up by her wealthy bachelor neighbor, the dry arrogant Lord Showalter who loves to flaunt his wealth and knowledge (he’s also the host of the unwrapping party). I think my favorite character, next to Agnes, was Caedman, the aspiring Egyptologist who has no means to pursue Agnes and no hope to succeed in winning her because of that.  Wrapped

I would love to read this in written form because sometimes I get distracted when listening to things out loud and I kept having to backtrack when my kids got too noisy. I learned a lot about Napolean and London in this refreshing glimpse into 1815 London. Most novels of this time period completely ignore the political turmoil of the time, and I enjoyed getting a more world-savvy view. I also enjoyed that Agnes defied the social expectations of young women of her day to accomplish some amazing things. If you prefer written words, to audio books, you may want to check this version out:


I have to ask, because the covers are so different- which cover most appeals to you? Or do you like them both?