cover image ICE CREAM


Elisha Cooper, . . HarperCollins/Greenwillow, $15.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-06-001423-0

Cooper's (Ballpark; Dance!) deliciously diverting book tackles a subject of intrinsic appeal to kids. The author gives the scoop on ice-cream making and anticipates all of their questions, answering them with, well, good humor—and with many specifics that may surprise even the most ardent aficionados. Those who scream for ice cream may be astounded by the array of machines involved, from the milking machine in the barn, to the apparatus in the milk co-op that condenses the milk, to the ice-cream factory's numerous contraptions, including one that shapes flat pieces of cardboard into rounded containers of various sizes. Cooper's description of an enormous ice-cream mixing machine with multiple tanks exhibits a flair for language that appeals to multiple senses: "It is a steel, piston-pumping, cream-dripping, gadget-whirring, water-spraying, pipe-rattling, chocolate-leaking animal." Similarly, readers can hear the sounds in the barn at milking time: "The fump, fump of the suction cups; the chug, chug, chug of milk spurting through plastic tubes." Cooper's small-scale art precisely follows each step of the process as type sashays across the spreads in inventive configurations, and panoramic views show the delivery truck transporting this divine bovine product through town and country. Ages 4-up. (Apr.)