NONFICTION

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

Kids Can. Oct. 2019. 40p. bibliog. photos. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781525300288.
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PreS-Gr 3–From an early age, Frank Epperson knew he wanted to be an inventor. He understood that serious inventors had to experiment before achieving success. The experiments he enjoyed most were ones that used flavored soda water. Epperson loved the sound of the bubbles popping in the water and found that adding different fruits to his concoctions created delicious, fizzy drinks. During an unusual cold snap in 1905 in his native California, Epperson experimented by leaving a glass of flavored soda water outside overnight. The next morning he discovered his water had frozen solid. Later, noticing the popularity of chocolate-covered ice cream on a stick, Epperson recalled his early experiment and marketed his frozen treat as the “Ep-sicle.” By that time, Frank was married and had nine children, who would frequently ask, “Pop, can we have a ’sicle?” Thus, the catchy name was born. The mixed-media illustrations are bright and express Frank’s enthusiasm. Use of speech and thought bubbles also add interest. There are directions for four experiments sprinkled throughout the story. Placing them together in the back rather than in the midst of the narrative might have made for a smoother read.
VERDICT Useful in STEM and history lessons, as well as an inspiring story of a young person’s passion and perseverance. Recommended for most collections.

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