Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring Break Reading Challenger - Last But Not Least

Our task today is to post about 5 books about winter. These are the first five I thought of.

Time of the Great Freeze by Robert Silverberg -- This is one of the books that made me a science fiction fan. I read it while sitting in the Duluth Public Library after school each day. It tells the story of an underground city which submerged to live through a world-wide glacial event. Seven men make radio contact with another city and are expelled as this is against the law. The men must make their way across the ice covered land to find shelter in another underground city. But they find that there is much more than just ice going on in the world.

The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder -- The adventures of Laura Ingalls and her family continue as Pa, Ma, Laura, Mary, Carrie, and little Grace bravely face the hard winter of 1880-81 in their little house in the Dakota Territory. Blizzards cover the little town with snow, cutting off all supplies from the outside. Soon there is almost no food left, so young Almanzo Wilder and a friend make a dangerous trip across the prairie to find some wheat. Finally a joyous Christmas is celebrated in a very unusual way in this most exciting of all the Little House books. I have read this book a few times over the years and really like this episode in Laura's life.

Ice by Sarah Beth Durst -- When Cassie was a little girl, her grandmother told her a fairy tale about her mother, who made a deal with the Polar Bear King and was swept away to the ends of the earth. Now that Cassie is older, she knows the story was a nice way of saying her mother had died. Cassie lives with her father at an Arctic research station, is determined to become a scientist, and has no time for make-believe. Then, on her eighteenth birthday, Cassie comes face-to-face with a polar bear who speaks to her. He tells her that her mother is alive, imprisoned at the ends of the earth. And he can bring her back -- if Cassie will agree to be his bride.That is the beginning of Cassie's own real-life fairy tale, one that sends her on an unbelievable journey across the brutal Arctic, through the Canadian boreal forest, and on the back of the North Wind to the land east of the sun and west of the moon. Before it is over, the world she knows will be swept away, and everything she holds dear will be taken from her -- until she discovers the true meaning of love and family in the magical realm of Ice. I like fairy tale retellings and keep meaning to read this book but I haven't done so yet.

Blizzard! The Storm That Changed America by Jim Murphy -- I like his writing style. It is always great to find readable and interesting nonfiction. Snow began falling over New York City on March 12, 1888. All around town, people struggled along slippery streets and sidewalks -- some seeking the warmth of their homes, some to get to work or to care for the less fortunate, and some to experience what they assumed would be the last little snowfall of one of the warmest winters on record. What no one realized was that in a very few hours, the wind and snow would bury the city in nearly 21 inches of snow and bring it to a ferocious standstill.

Snow Day by Lynn Plourde -- An appealing succession of activities on a snowy day results in a memorable family adventure. Beginning with a small girl awakened by her mother to a winter wonderland, this unpretentious book is a series of vignettes filled with the many diversions of a snowstorm that interrupt the normal flow of daily life. Various activities take place inside and out on this momentous occasion: reading books, playing cards, sledding, shoveling, eating, and sitting in front of a roaring fire. All of the senses are satisfied in this simple tale of old-fashioned fun. Onomatopoetic wordplay reveals all the varied sounds that are part of the unforgettable storm, while the changeable day is defined by numerous adjectives: yummy, fierce, playful, bundly, shivery, snuggly, and sleepy, to name a few. Warm, clear illustrations in acrylic reveal a close, loving family of four enjoying one another's company during a special day packed with shared amusements. The large, double-spread paintings make the book ideal for group reading. The story will evoke pleasant memories in adults and heighten the seasonal enjoyment in children. Because sometimes we have to remember that getting lots of snow can be fun.

Now I'll go look and see what everyone else picked.

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