I Want Ice Cream!

Penguin ­Workshop/Rise. Jun. 2021. 48p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780593382653.
K-Gr 2–A young boy shifts through five different emotional phases—playful, jealous, upset, pouty, and angry—during a tantrum to convince his parent to let him have ice cream; the adult says “no” every time. Paired with insistent dialogue befitting of the boy’s darkening mood, black-and-white doodle-like drawings simply focus on the boy’s body language and facial expressions. The scenes are deliberately infused with different solid colors to represent each particular emotion, such as red for “angry,” spreading from the text background to settle in the boy’s shirt. The tantrum ends abruptly when the child realizes his adult’s answer of “no” will not waver, but the process of this acceptance remains unexplained. A final wordless page spread shows the boy looking, in surprise, at three children happily eating ice cream, dressed in blue, green, and red shirts. Given the book’s color-emotion symbolism, an unwanted comparison can easily be drawn by young readers as they look between the contented children, whose adults seem to have said “yes” to their emotional displays, and the main character, who walks away empty-handed.
VERDICT As a visual social-emotional teaching tool for young children, this book would require a great deal of adult-led discussion to untangle the ending and explain why it is important for a child to accept an adult’s refusal.

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