On Thin Ice

Lina’s excited about her class field trip to the aquarium. Lina has never ridden on a yellow school bus or gone to the aquarium before. When Lina finds out that her cousin will be visiting and going to school with her, Lina’s a little bit nervous. Because of his ice magic, Jack soon becomes the most popular kid in school. Lina is jealous of Jack’s ice magic skills and she is tired of him always showing off.

At the field trip, Lina and Jack see the penguins. Each one wants to prove that they can build the best ice sculpture. But soon their magic is out of control. Although the penguins love the ice slides and the mountains of snow, the other aquarium animals are in danger. Will the two cousin’s competition turn the aquarium animals into icicles? Will they ever learn to get along?

Readers will relate to Lina’s jealousy of her cousin’s ice magic skills. Lina and Jack get along fine when they are alone, but once Jack is around people he always shows off. In the end, both of them realize that jealousy can be dangerous. Eventually, Lina learns that Jack “thought that if everyone saw I was so good at winter magic, they’d ask me to come back and teach you again.” Even though their ice magic gets them into some cold situations, in the end, both Jack and Lina learn the importance of learning from each other.

Illustrated with cute black, white, and purple illustrations, On Thin Ice is perfect for any reader who dreams of being a princess. Even though Lina tries hard to be nice, she still makes mistakes.  On Thin Ice is told in a diary format using simple vocabulary. The paragraphs contain three or fewer sentences and have a variety of graphic elements to break the text into small portions. The easy-to-read story has relatable conflicts and highlights the importance of communication.

The cute illustrations include pictures of all of the characters and Lina’s activities. The bright purple-and-black illustrations appear on almost every page, and they include illustrations of binder paper with a list that helps readers understand the plot. For example, Lina makes a list of “things I’d noticed earlier this week.” In addition to the illustration, Lina’s grandfather’s words are in big, bold text, which will help the reader distinguish the speaker.

Readers who like friendship, magic, and animals will enjoy On Thin Ice. The story teaches about animals. The end of the book explains how blubber works and gives directions for an experiment. Parents will like the encouraging characters and the positive life lessons the story teaches. Scenes of a perfect pink palace in the sky are mixed with a regular school and kind characters to create a story that will please both parents and younger readers.

Sexual Content

  • None


  • None

Drugs and Alcohol

  • None


  • None


  • Lina’s granddad is the North Wind and he created the jet streams. Both Lina and her cousin Jack are winterharts who can control snow and ice.
  • In Lina’s world, some people have different powers. “Skypainters make sunsets and rainbows. Sparkarachers create lightning and thunder. Stormsirrers make big storms, like hurricanes and tornadoes. Windtamers control the wind and the weather.”
  • When Lina was practicing her magic, she “stood up straight and tall. I let my breath out slowly and spread my fingers wide. The spray of the water froze in midair, making a sheet of ice that looked just like glass.”
  • Lina thinks back to when she was a baby. “The only memory I have of my cousin Jack is from a family reunion at Granddad’s castle when Jack froze my diaper.” Later Jack says, “you ran around the room screaming, ‘Butt cold! Butt cold!’”
  • Jack tries to help Lina control her power. Jack tells her “Focus your magic on just one snowflake, and allow your magic to flow out from there, building and building, crystal by crystal.”
  • While collecting bugs for a class project, Jack “was using his frost magic to stun the insects. That made them slow enough to catch in his jar. As soon as the insects warmed up, they were flying around again, totally fine.” When Lina tries ice magic on a spider, “all of a sudden a ball of snow formed above the spider and dumped right on top of him.” The spider is not injured.
  • Both Lina and Jack want to prove that they have better ice magic. While at the aquarium, they begin making ice sculptures for the penguins. Jack “waved his fingers at the glass, and formed a slide of his own with fancy curlicue decorations made out of spindly ice crystals.” Trying to make a better ice feature, Lina “made snow fall inside the exhibit. I used my powers to scoop the snow into a ramp that the penguins could use to launch themselves in the water.” The two make so many ice features that they endanger the other animals. An employee is able to turn up the thermostat so none of the animals are hurt.

Spiritual Content

  • None

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