July 10, 2015

Review: Ice Cream Summer

Ice Cream Summer By Peter Sís
Available now from Scholastic Press
Review copy

Peter Sís is a three-time Caldecott Honoree and a Hans Christian Anderson Award Winner.  ICE CREAM SUMMER makes it easy to see why his children's books are so celebrated.

The text is a letter from a boy to his grandpa, explaining all the fun things he's doing this summer.  He's learning about math and maps, for instance.  The illustrations deepen the text, and show how the boy is approaching his studies in more detail.  Everything relates back to ice cream.  How many scoops does he eat, and how many scoops does his dog eat?  Which civilization ate ice cream first, and who invented the waffle cone (and why)?

ICE CREAM SUMMER is full of facts about everyone's favorite treat, presented in a breezy way.  There are lots of layers for children to interact with on the level they're ready for.  That is, kids who are learning addition and subtraction might be able to work the math problems on their own.  Others might want to draw their own ice-cream map or read the smaller passages with more historical detail.

Sís' pictures not only add to the text, they're also appealing in their own right.  He uses a dreamy and soft palette that echoes the colors of common ice creams, and the art has melty soft edges.  Everything works together thematically.  And who doesn't love ice cream?  Even my lactose intolerant nephew likes the dairy-free frozen treats that he's allowed.

ICE CREAM SUMMER is a perfect treat of a children's book.  It has a cute story, great pictures, and invites readers to explore further on their own.

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