Monday, February 25, 2013

Story Element #7: Word Play (Welcome to the Ice House)

Happy news! My dad got a new job making cabinets. My sister is moving into her brand new home they had designed and built. She even has an art studio upstairs. And my mom is moving into her new place too! I'm so happy for all of them. And speaking of houses,

Today's book is...
Welcome to the ICE HOUSE

Author: Jane Yolen
Illustrator: Laura Regan
Publisher: G. P. Putnam's Sons
Year: 1998
Word Count: 299
Focus: Word Play (and a little rhyme)

Summary: "The coming of warm weather to the arctic brings an explosion of color from flowering plants and a thundering return of wildlife."

Jacket Flap:
     "Through the long white night of Arctic winter prowl all kinds of animals - the fox looking for lemmings, the howling wolf pack on the trail of snowshoe hare, the silent lynx, a ton of unpredictable moose, and a solitary polar bear. Beyond the ice, in a blue-black sea, swim seals, herds of walrus, and killer whales on the hunt.
     Then suddenly it is spring, and then summer. The land explodes with the color of poppies and lupines. Caribou thunder across the tundra and birds return to iceless lakes and snowless cliffs to nest until - just as suddenly - winter returns.
     In a rich poetic text and dazzling colorful pictures, the mysterious world of the Arctic comes excitingly to life. Welcome to the ice house and the long winter nights."

Spread 1:
Welcome to the ice house,
the snow and wintry blow house,
where shades of white
the lengthy winter night.
Notice the repetition of 'house,' and the lovely near-rhyme of 'illuminate' with the white/night set.

Spread 2:
caper lemmings in long tunnels,
racing through the runnels
to escape
the (adj. adj.) fox
on the prowl
Notice how 'caper' echoes 'snowscape' and 'escape,' as well as the long 'a' sound in 'racing.' Also 'lemmings' kind of echoes tunnels/runnels.

Spread 3:
of the howling wolf pack
There are rhyming words, but no meter. I love it. (pack/track and hare/beware) Also notice how 'howling' echoes the last word from the previous page: prowl.

Spread 4:
now quick, now slow
now silent as snow
Spread 5:
moose on the loose

Spread 6:
'polar bear' rhymes with 'hare' from previous spread

Spread 7:
The Arctic seas are blue and black.
Beyond the ice crack
swim gray and brown seals:
Notice how the rhyme black/crack don't fall on stressed beats. I love how 'crack' wraps around and continues the sentence. Read it normally. Don't force the stress on 'crack.' So beautiful and elegant!

Spread 8:
And slickly black,
sleekly white,
The alliteration of slickly and sleekly is wonderful! And made up words too!

Spread 9:
...dense herds,
immense herds,
of baggy-skinned,
...tusks for defense.
Baggy/saggy and dense/immense/defense. Notice how dense and immense aren't end rhymes. Short lines with rhyming words sprinkled throughout gives it a more lyrical feel.

Spread 10:
the return of a moment
of spring.
Notice how 'spring' echo-rhymes 'welcoming.' With the stress of 'welcoming' falling on WEL, I don't see it as a true rhyme even though -ing and -ing are exact.

Spread 11:
The (noun verbs,) warms,
and swarms of (nouns and noun
verb) open, grow;
an explosion of (noun
word word verb) only ice and snow.
I'm trying my hardest to quote as few words as possible. I mean, the whole book is already less than 300! Notice the internal rhyme warms/swarms, and the assonance of the 'o' sound in open, grow, explosion, only, snow. So nice!


  • internal near rhyme: thunder/tundra
  • simply changing a vowel to change a verb: "grubbing roots, grabbing voles"
  • consonance of 's,' 'l,' and 'k' sounds: "iceless lakes and snowless cliffs"
  • last page has some repetition from opening page, SO lovely! 
So there you have it folks. Yet another type of word play book. The awesome thing is that this book is part of a four-book series. The other books are Welcome to the GREEN HOUSE, Welcome to the SEA OF SAND, and Welcome to the RIVER OF GRASS. They are SO very worth adding to your collection, especially if you really, truly love LANGUAGE, and Mother Earth.

You can easily add a lyrical quality to any manuscript when you play with words and their sounds. RhymeZone is my best friend for looking up synonyms. Sometimes a different word with a similar meaning will have more similar sounds to a nearby word in the same sentence. Utilize that thesaurus! I'm telling ya, RhymeZone is awesome! So, pick apart a ms and rebuild it with better words. 

What is your favorite room in YOUR house and why?

My favorite room is my office because that's where I get to WRITE! Keep on keepin' on...


  1. That sounds beautiful! My favorite room is the front room. A great place to read.

  2. I will be checking out all these books. Thanks for the heads up. I also love RhymeZone. It's great. My favorite room is the one that is clean and dusted, and I don't have any work facing me for just a little while.


I love hearing from you! Share your thoughts below.


Link Within

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...