Review of To the Ice

To the Ice To the Ice
by Thomas Tidholm; illus. by Anna-Clara Tidholm; trans. from Swedish by Julia Marshall
Primary, Intermediate    Gecko    80 pp.
11/23    9781776575077    $18.99

At the start of this chapter book, three children (“Jack, Max and me, Ida”) playing by a creek accidentally float away on an ice floe. The creek becomes a river, which then becomes sea; they wake surrounded by ice and decide to walk home—but which way is home? After walking for two days, they reach land and find a dilapidated hut with cans of food, a stove, and warm animal skins. Here they spend the winter, but when spring arrives, a storm tears the hut apart. They use the wood to build a boat, then set sail, survive a terrifying storm at sea, and ultimately find their way back home. “You might not believe it’s true, and we didn’t believe it ourselves, not even while it was happening. But this is how it was…” Whether imagined or not, the survival tale is entirely engrossing and memorable in Ida’s detailed, matter-of-fact, smoothly translated telling. The illustrations are equally successful at showing the children as small figures against vast icy backgrounds and close-up and cozy in their hut. A thrilling polar adventure for armchair travelers.

Pubissue-From the March/April 2024 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Jennifer M. Brabander

Jennifer M. Brabander is former senior editor of The Horn Book Magazine. She holds an MA from the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature from Simmons University.

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