An Arctic Fable

Once upon the melting ice

As a parent, I remain a dud when it comes to shopping with my fashionista daughter and playing sports with my athletic son. What I loved, when they were younger, was reading with them — especially snuggling together in bed with chapter books long after they knew how to read by themselves. We had ground rules: no skipping ahead (I still blush at being caught in the act more than once by a wakeful offspring) and, most important, the choices had to appeal to both adult and child. I wasn’t going to waste my time with a series like the Baby‑Sitters Club; my kids could indulge in those guilty pleasures by themselves. Instead, we plunged into Lloyd Alexander, Susan Cooper, Philip Pullman, L. M. Montgomery, Janet Lunn, Farley Mowat, and C. S. Lewis. It’s a tradition that I have maintained with my grandchildren.

James Raffan’s Ice Walker is a happy addition to our reading list. That is not to suggest it is too...