Ice Cream Summer

Book review by
Patricia Tauzer, Common Sense Media
Ice Cream Summer Book Poster Image
Whimsical art and ice cream tie in summer learning and fun.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Traces history of ice cream; gives additional research resources; supports summertime reading, vocabulary enhancement, math facts, word problems, map making.

Positive Messages

Learning is fun and so is keeping your brain working in the summertime, especially when you follow your interests. Ice cream not only is delicious but also can be inspirational; use your imagination to explore and practice what you learn; doing things with your grandpa can be rewarding. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Joe is a busy, active, imaginative kid who likes to learn. His grandpa is loving, supportive, and fun. All other characters are happy, friendly and engaged in what they're doing.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Ice Cream Summer, by three-time Caldecott Honoree Peter Sis, celebrates ice cream and summer as well as imagination, learning ... and grandpas! This lively picture book shows how following your interests can be a fun way to practice during the summer what you learned during the school year. The cleverly intricate, lively watercolor illustrations are imaginative, and together with simple text they tell a story with an educational twist. This may not be the book for those avoiding sugar and ice cream, but it definitely will appeal to readers who enjoy an occasional scoop or two! 

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What's the story?

Summer's here, and Joe sees ice cream everywhere, but that doesn't mean his brain isn't working! Grandpa sends a letter asking how things are going. Joe writes back with a story of how he's learning new words, practicing his math, drawing maps, and researching history -- all related to his favorite summertime treat, ice cream. This busy, energetic kid builds sand castles with ice cream turrets and writes a book filled with cone-inspired illustrations: cats' ears, walrus tusks, fish bodies, baseball bats, and so on. He adds and subtracts scoops, calculates number of ice cream servings, and, using the encyclopedia Grandpa gave him, researches the history of ice cream. Vibrant, lively watercolor illustrations infused with occasional sketches and tiny narrative details add facts and humor. Plays on words and ice cream facts tucked in on the frontispiece, with tips on how to do further research, put the cherry on top.

Is it any good?

Whimsical watercolors, silly wordplay, and ice cream cones everywhere -- how could this splendidly satisfying book go wrong? Author-illustrator Peter Sis has created the perfect, deliciously energetic kickoff to a summer of fun and tasty frozen treats that stimulate the mind as well as the virtual taste buds.

Kids will spend hours poring over the pages of ICE CREAM SUMMER, searching for the clever ways ice cream cones are used in the illustrations, doing the problems Joe suggests, thinking up new exotic names for their favorite flavors, and learning about the history of ice cream. Besides that, they'll love Joe and his grandpa and root for their climb to the top of ice cream peak. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the amazing number of ways author Peter Sis sneaks images of ice cream scoops and cones into his illustrations. Every page is filled with them! How many can you find? How many more could you design?

  • What about the big words Joe learns from reading the ice cream list? Which others could you add? Where do you look to find interesting words? 

  • What did you think of the ice cream-influenced map? Did it remind you of any popular games you play? How? What would you add to the map, or what map would you design? What amazed you about the history of ice cream? 

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love picture books and math

Themes & Topics

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