The Boy Who Invented the Popsicle Book Review and Classroom Connections

The Boy Who Invented the Popsicle is a delightful book I chanced upon a few days ago and just have to share with you.

Title: The Boy Who Invented the Popsicle – The Cool Science Behind Frank Epperson’s Famous Frozen Treat

Author: Anne Renaud

Illustrator: Milan Pavlovic

Publishing: Kids Can Press, 2019

Ages: 4-9

Themes: Children as Inventors, Experiments, Perseverance

Opening Lines:

Frank William Epperson knew what he wanted to be when he grew up. And everyone in Frank’s family knew, too. Because in case they forgot, he reminded them — often.

Summary:

Have you ever wondered how the popsicle came to be? This story explains it all in an interesting, easy-to-read text and colourful, warm, sketchy illustrations. When Frank was young he knew he wanted to be an inventor. He spent most of his time planning, designing and experimenting. As you can imagine, many experiments didn’t go as planned, but Frank was never derailed and just kept on trying. The story takes us from Frank’s early childhood through to adulthood when Frank’s popsicle goes commercial.

My Thoughts:

I just loved this charming tale and little Frank’s inquisitive nature. The author and illustrator really brought him to life. We also learn about some of Frank’s other experiments, both the successful and not-so-successful ones, which is lots of fun. The science behind the popsicle and the difficulties in getting it to freeze correctly are also explained and I think older kids will find that super interesting. This book is perfect for any budding scientists in your house which, really, is probably every child. Don’t most kids love to muck around with stuff and see what they can come up with? I also really appreciated the Author’s Note at the back of the book. There’s a full page spread with more information and photographs.

Classroom Connections:

1. Reread the book and then list everything about Frank’s personality and the things he did over the years that supported his inventor mindset.

2. Compare yourself to Frank using a Venn diagram.

3. Read, contrast and compare other books about inventors, such as The Junkyard Wonders by Patricia Polacco, The Crayon Man by Natascha Biebow, and Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Fetterly.

4. Can you think of another name for the popsicle? It was originally called the Ep-sicle but slowly changed over the years when Frank’s kids would always say, “Pop, can we have a ‘sicle?”

5. Create your own popsicle advertisement. The one below is circa 1931.

Source: Hake’s Auction

6. Do the experiments in the book. There are 4 of them: Why Won’t They Play Together?, A Whole Lot of Fizzing Going On, The Big Freeze, and A Frozen Treat in a Flash.

7. Create your own experiment. What have you wondered about? How could you test it? Remember, it doesn’t matter if it’s a “fail” or not. Something is learned from EVERY experiment.

8. Write a popsicle poem. I have an example for you called Paint a Popsicle Poem.

Be sure to check out all my other book reviews.

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