Ice Cream Work is a playful, creative and delightfully quirky book that appeals to children, teens and adults alike.
Naoshi's art work is unique and engaging in Ice Cream Work. She has mastered the technique of SUNAE. In Japan, SUNA means sand and E stands for drawing. All the pictures are created using colored sand and there are detailed directions with pictures in the back of the book to show the reader how to make SUNAE on their own. Each page has beautiful colors and remarkably fine detail (especially considering she created the pictures with sand!). The illustrations appear to have an interesting texture and depth which you don't see with other types of art mediums.
The tiny visual details throughout the book are amazing. When I was a young girl, I used to love books that had unusual illustrations that sparked my imagination. This book rekindles those memories of my youth and causes me to become lost in the amusing and creative fine points in the art work. I brought the book to the school where I teach and my junior high students loved it. The pictures kept them fascinated for much longer than I expected. Many of my students love Japanese art, cartoons and music and the style of this book was very appealing to them. Although the story line is fairly simple, the artwork is not. The art speaks even more loudly than the text. Each time the book is read, there are more details to be noticed and appreciated.
On a literary level, I love the theme of working hard with a happy attitude and also enjoying free time. Work hard and play hard. Ice Cream Man goes "cheerfully off to work" and we follow him on his adventures. Every day brings a new and exciting role - he enjoys life whether he is a party popper, road cone, sunflower, golf ball or night light. Ice Cream Man could easily represent a boy or a girl because of the way he is drawn so children of both genders can easily pretend like they are Ice Cream Man.
After a long week of work, Ice Cream Man gets to take a much deserved break. Working hard, playing hard and feeling excitement for what each day may bring - those are things that I can totally stand behind.
A fun addition to the story is the "Look and Find" section after the story. People can search for the Worried Monkey, Jealous Girl, Pretending Interest Cheetah, Bathing Lemon and so on. I can't help but wonder if perhaps these items and characters represent something to the author - like a little inside joke that we are left to guess about.
So if you want an engaging and unusual gift for yourself or a friend, ICE CREAM WORK is a good bet. It would be fun to put a gift card to an ice cream shop with it.
This book may be purchased through Amazon. You won't be disappointed.