cover image Ice Cream Summer

Ice Cream Summer

Megan Atwood, illus. by Natalie Andrewson. Aladdin, $12.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-4814-9047-4

In this first book in the Orchard Novel series, 11-year-old Sarah is overjoyed that she and her best friend Lizzie will be spending the summer operating the ice cream stand at Lizzie’s family orchard. Sarah hopes that the job will bring her closer to Lizzie, since they “didn’t always like the same things anymore,” but those hopes are dashed when Lizzie invites two other children, twins Olive and Peter, to help out. Normally welcoming, Sarah turns petty toward the twins, which only widens the gap between Lizzie and her. Atwood’s (the Dear Molly, Dear Olive series) story follows a well-worn trajectory of friendship ups and downs, and although there’s quite a bit of sobbing, “snort-laughing,” and ice cream similes (“The news hit them like an ice cream cone splatting on a sidewalk”), it emphasizes the importance of open-mindedness, empathy, and inclusion. Andrewson’s swoopy b&w cartoons channel the energy of a sugar high while visually establishing the multicultural community Atwood has assembled. Ages 7–11. [em]Author’s agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Jen Linnan, Linnan Literary Management. (May) [/em]