HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: The Cabin and the Ice Palace
Author: Ruth Beechick
Cover Illustrator: Michael Denman
Publisher: Mott Media, republished after 1996
Related website: http://www.mottmedia.com/ (publisher)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages11 and up
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Beechick, Ruth. The Cabin and the Ice Palace (published in 1996 by Arrow Press, 8825 Blue Mountain Dr., Golden, CO 80403). Tyrone and Suzanne are two homemade sculpted dolls who sit in Uncle Bert and Aunt Molly’s shop near a painting of a cabin set in a winter scene done by Mountain Mike. Somehow they are transported as real children into the cabin of the winter scene. When they leave the cabin, they come to the village of Prollic where they meet Russ, Ron, Dan, and other children who do practically nothing but play all day and party all night. They become known as Ty and Sue. Then they go to the city of Schuliland where they find other children who do nothing but study and learn all the time. This subarctic world seems like a winter paradise. Ty skis to look for the Lost Mine. Sue learns to skate like a ballerina. They skim down the river behind a dog team. The children of Prollic are even building an ice palace.
However, it always seems to be winter, so all along the way they tell everyone about “The Other World” where spring comes. Then Ty discovers a terrible truth that this seeming paradise is not what it appears to be. What does he learn? Is there anything that he and Sue can do about it? And will anyone believe what they have to say anyway? The author, Dr. Ruth Beechick, was a professional educator with an Ed.D. from Arizona State University who became a big supporter of homeschooling. She wrote many articles in various homeschooling magazines which I read. Also, she provided curriculum guides for the original McGuffey’s Readers and Ray’s Arithmetics published by Mott Media which we used for both our boys in their elementary studies. After spending a number of years in the Alaskan subarctic, where she accepted her first teaching job, she moved to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and wrote over 100 books and curriculum items for children and their teachers, but she enjoyed writing this story most of all, because it is about her beloved winter worlds.
The Cabin and the Ice Palace is an allegorical fantasy with a subtle message about belief in God, creation, and heaven, which also is designed to help stimulation of the imagination and new thinking skills. Some people might consider it a little confusing at times, but discerning readers should find it a rewarding experience. One reader reviewer suggested that it is a retelling of Plato’s allegory of the cave which encourages children to consider how it is that we often shut our eyes tight against certain kinds of evidence and why we sometimes reject the obvious truth concerning the nature of things. I found it fascinating. After a lifetime of dedication to teaching, first as a classroom instructor and then as a curriculum editor and writer, Mrs. Beechick passed away at the age of 88 on November 27, 2013.