FICTION

Saffron Ice Cream

illus. by Rashin Kheiriyeh. 40p. Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Bks. May 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781338150520.
COPY ISBN
RedReviewStarPreS-Gr 2— A young girl enjoys her first visit to the beach at Coney Island while remembering her past family outings in Iran. Trips to the Caspian Sea entailed adventurous car drives listening to Persian music, saffron ice cream, and her best friend Azadeh. Now, in Brooklyn, her family takes the subway filled with "all sorts of people" and music, but there is no Azadeh. Bright oil-and-acrylic paints on handmade paper gives texture and delightful energy to the presentation, adding to the joyous, celebratory excitement of a first visit to a new place. The voice of young Rashin is infectious with curiosity as she wonders what it will be like on the beach in New York City and if there will be different rules. In Iran, women and men were separated by a screen while they sunbathed and played in the water. The women were able to "take off their covers and get a tan," and enjoy "a big party" while female guards made sure no men peeped through the canvas. The Iranian author/illustrator subtly teases out the differences between the two experiences. When young Rashin finds that there is no saffron ice cream on Coney Island she is disappointed, but a young girl suggests to her a new flavor, and a new friendship starts.
VERDICT A must-purchase for libraries, especially for summer reading and beach storytime.

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