Ice by Susan Brocker. A secret. A rescue. A terrifying truth. A mystery, a villain and a jolly good middle grade read. Set in New Zealand’s cold, snowy slopes of Wanaka.

Posted: April 26, 2022 in Intermediate, Primary School
Tags: , ,

Ice

By Susan Brocker

ISBN 9781775437567

Scholastic NZ

I admit that animals stories are not usually my first choice but I was very pleasantly surprised with Susan Broker’s latest title. I read it over two days and was thoroughly caught up in the mystery, the family dynamics and just the whole story.

Zac, has lived with his mother in Auckland since his parent’s divorce but is forced to stay with his father and his new wife and step brother and step sister in Wanaka, a long, long way from the big city. Zac likes nothing more than to play games on his console but his father has other ideas for him. He volunteers at a wildlife sanctuary but it isn’t long before he realises things are not as they seem. His stepmother encourages him to take on the care of a dog from the pound but the one he chooses, destined for euthanasia, looks at him with ice blue eyes and he can’t resist saving her. However, something is wrong. The dog howls each night at the moon, as if caught up in terrible sadness. Thus, the mystery of the dog he calls, Ice, begins.

It’s a good mystery, a good story and a good pace. The setting of the ice and snow and hills around Wanaka are descriptive and realistic. Zac’s relationship with his father is strained and Zac feels that whatever he does, isn’t good enough so he lies but the lies create even bigger problems.

Zac is forced into situations that beg him to step up and find the strength of the characters he fights in his games. It is the stepping up that creates the character’s growth and that always makes a good story. Indeed, it is more than just stepping up, Zac, has to fight for his and his family’s survival.

Ice, a white German Shepherd has her own personality. She is courageous and loyal.

I do think this would be a good read aloud for upper primary and intermediate school.

Minky Stapleton provides some thoughtful black and white illustrations throughout the book.

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