________________ CM . . . . Volume XIX Number 10. . . .November 9, 2012


The Ice Cream Store.

Dennis Lee. Illustrated by David McPhail.
Toronto, ON: HarperCollins Canada, 1991/2012.
64 pp., hardcover, $19.99.
ISBN 978-1-44341-425-8.

Subject Headings:
Children's Poetry, Canadian (English).

Preschool-grade 3 / Ages 3-8.

Review by Claire Perrin.

**** /4


The re-release of The Ice Cream Store features the award-winning collection of poems by Dennis Lee that were originally published in 1991. Also famous for his Alligator Pie (CM Archive, Vol. 16, No. 2, March 1988)) and Garbage Delight (Vol. X, No. 3, Oct. 3, 2003) collections, Lee is one of Canada's most well-known poets, particularly among children, parents and teachers.

     Lee's poems are based on topics that children can relate to, such as animals, dinosaurs, space and food. He takes what is familiar and puts a unique and funny twist on it. Adding even more humour, Lee often invents his own rhyming words or creates nonsense words as needed. Many of the poems include catchy phrases, such as "lickety-split and razzamatazz", that are delightful to read aloud. Simple rhyme schemes and rhythms help children anticipate rhyming words and join in with the poems.

     One aspect of The Ice Cream Store that makes it a must-have for any school or library is its multicultural flavour. The message of the opening poem, "The Ice Cream Store", celebrates the diversity and uniqueness of all people:

Oh, the kids around the block are like an
Ice cream store,
'Cause there's chocolate, and vanilla,
And there's maple and there's more.
And there's butterscotch and orange—
Yes, there's flavours by the score;
And the kids around the block are like an
Ice cream store!

     Each poem is accompanied by a colour illustration by artist David McPhail. The illustrations are both humourous and informative as they depict the main ideas of the poem. An amazing variety of animals are shown sometimes in natural surroundings but often personified and interacting with the various characters in the poems.

     In 1991, Dennis Lee was awarded the Mr. Christie's Book Award for excellence in Canadian writing for this collection of poems. Twenty years later, The Ice Cream Store is just as relevant and amusing as ever. By re-releasing Lee's poetry, Harper Collins keeps great Canadian verse alive for another generation of children.

Highly Recommended.

Claire Perrin is a teacher in Toronto, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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