Sunday 12 March 2023

When Ice Cream Had a Meltdown

When Ice Cream Had a Meltdown by Michelle Robinson (Scholastic) Picture Book ISBN 9 781760 260118

Reviewed by Susan Hancy

It’s hard to resist a freezer full of various ice creams, and when my kids saw the attractive end pages of this picture book, they just wanted to dive right in.

What a fabulous concept for a storyline – ice cream having a meltdown! This story is told from the point of view of a plain, soft-serve vanilla cone. The goal in her life, like the other ice creams in the ice cream truck, is to please her consumer, and to please she needs to be selected by someone. Customer after customer comes to the truck and all the fancy ice creams are selected ahead of her. She tries to stay positive – someday she’ll be chosen. But it becomes too much for her and she loses her cool. In the end, she gets her wish, and she feels fulfilled. Mind you, there’s no mention of what awaits her next!

The book pops visually. The mouth-watering end pages are superb with the selection of ice creams that are screaming “choose me”. I loved the inclusion of their respective prices – I could ask my kids to practice reading out the dollars and cents. We could also play a game about which ice cream was the most expensive and ponder whether it would be worth it.

Ice Cream’s increasing frustration is built up nicely through the storyline and the illustrations of her tantrums are fun, especially when she kicks over a jar of sprinkles in an eye-catching double spread. However, the solution to her dilemma is light: there’s nothing she herself does to better influence her ability to be chosen other than wait. The story is told in rhyme, but the rhythm is off in places where the natural emphasis would be on the wrong word and the verse structure is inconsistent. This makes it tricky to read out loud the first time through.

Would my kids recommend this book to their friends? A big thumbs up! The strength of the concept and the illustrations certainly prevail.

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