by Maria Gianferrari

Happy Book Birthday to ICE CYCLE: POEMS ABOUT THE LIFE OF ICE, with gorgeously rendered illustrations by illustrator, animator and designer, Jieting Chen!

Did you know that our own Tara Lazar used to be a competitive ice skater? You can read about how her skating journey helped with her publishing journey here.

Or perhaps you’ve read her funny, punny fractured fairy tale, LITTLE RED GLIDING HOOD?

Let’s celebrate all kinds of ice! Here’s a glimpse of the visual and aural poetry that is ice!

Check out this gorgeous frost photo taken by Associate Publisher at Lerner Books, Carol Hinz.

Swirls of frost like stalks of plants growing from a center root and expanding outwards

Look at these “frost drops.”

Frozen droplets of ice with sharps lines of frost like barbs around them

Carol’s photo inspired this book. I was intrigued by these intricate and lacy patterns that looked like feathery ferns, and began researching ice and discovered so many cool things that I wanted to share with readers and our book was born.

You know icicles. Look at these beauties that formed on our roof last winter.

Long, thick, pointy icicles that you would not want to be under when they fall. Like large daggers!

But have you heard of brinicles? I hadn’t, until I began researching this book. Brinicles form when freezing seawater releases its salt, forming brine. Brine is heavier than the surrounding sea water, so it sinks, and as it sinks, water around it freezes and forms a sinking brinicle spear. When the brinicle makes contact with the sea floor, it freezes everything in its path. You can watch a brinicle forming here.

Ice also has some evocative and whimsical names.

Pancake ice, anyone?

Round-ish, flat circles of ice with water around them, like many different-sized pancakes

Credit: Kenneth Manoff

And Jieting’s rendering:

Illustration of ice pancakes sitting atop blue water

Or perhaps cat ice, so named for its delicate swirls and the idea that a light footed cat might be able to walk across it?

Different shapes of ice with clear cracks between the uneven shapes

Drawing of cat ice looks like rings of a tree, one surrounding another until the edge, which is like the edge of clouds, random and uneven

Perhaps Phoebe is as paw-dept as her mom on the ice?

Black cat with tiny tongue sticking out. Green eyes with brown dots on the left eye

Check out these fine filaments of hair ice!

Lots of fine ice filaments curving up and outwards like a wave about to crash

Credit: Christian Mätzler

Stick of wood with ice hairs growing outward from the center, curving to the left and right of the stick

You can watch a time lapse photo of hair ice growing here.

Ice talks too!

It mumbles, grumbles and growls; squeaks and creaks.

Listen to some sea ice sounds here.

Who knew that frozen lakes have a Star Wars like blaster sound effect?!

Ice is so very nice, and so is Jieting’s lovely art! You can read our book to learn more about cool ice stuff.

To celebrate our book birthday, Lerner Publishing is kindly donating a giveaway copy of the book to one lucky person who leaves a comment below (US continental addresses only—sorry)!

What’s your favorite kind of ice? Leave a comment to let us know.

Thanks for letting us feature ICE CYCLE on our book birthday today, Tara!

Maria Gianferrari is a prolific children’s book author. Visit her at