This is a marvelous book, I love Ted Rand's illustrations, I love the Saranac Ice Palace, and I love the fact that this is only 45 minutes away. It makes us feel special. There aren't too many books about Northern New York.
And, this book is a good story. Well written and fascinating. Local books can be a little... well, poorly constructed. But this one is super.
Aren't these fun pictures? The Ice Palace is built to kick off the Saranac Winter Carnival. Since the carnival starts this weekend, I have been seeing picture of it's construction on facebook. Winter Carnivals are pretty much something thought up by town leaders of northern areas to keep people from going crazy with cabin fever. There are several in Northern New York. We are all on the verge of going crazy in February.
Isn't this a great picture?
Once the ice is a certain thickness, it is marked into a grid and cut into whatever size squares they need to build this year's ice palace.
Originally, a minimum security prison in the area, Camp Gabriels provided the labor for construction. In this story, the little girl has an uncle in Camp Gabriels for a year. He is chosen to help with the Ice Palace, which makes the little girl proud. Really, it was a good system. Building the palace made the men feel proud and like they were contributing to society and they actually were contributing.
During the budget cuts of 2008 or 2009, Camp Gabriels was closed. So the prisoners no longer help build the ice palace. I am not sure exactly who does, but I think a local union is building it this year and is eager for any and all volunteers.
The prisoner's leaving at the end of the day.
The Carnival Royalty
A different theme is picked for each year. The book has a circus theme or some such. It doesn't actually say. This year's is Villans & Heros.
Love this picture of her sitting, talking to her Dad all about it.
And I love the idea of this service to the community making the prisoners better men. Walking a little straighter.