Friday, March 7, 2014

PPBF: Cocoa Ice

Today's Perfect Picture Book Friday pick

Cocoa Ice, by Diana Appelbaum,
and Holly Meade
Cocoa Ice
Written by Diana Appelbaum
Illustrated by Holly Meade
Orchard Books, 1997
non-fiction, grades K-4
word count 2264

Non-fiction, Historical, Chocolate!

"Chocolate comes from a faraway island where birds have pink feathers, leaves grow bigger than I am tall, and it is always summer."

and the opening to the second section:

"Ice schooners come from a land where the water is so hard that people walk on the river - right on the river."

This non-fiction picture book chronicles the ice trade in Maine and the cocoa trade in Santo Domingo during the 1800s. The story is told from two perspectives. It explains how each girl thinks the other's life is strange and exotic. It details how ice is cut and transported to the islands. The book also recounts how cocoa is harvested and enjoyed in both the Carribean and New England.

What I Love:
I love the unique format for storytelling. No matter the reader's location, the dual perspectives give him a connection to the main characters. This story works in so many interesting details about the history of trade, life in the 19th century, culture, nature, and of course, chocolate. This is creative non-fiction at its finest. The cut paper and gouache illustrations are stunning. Sadly, Holly Meade left us too soon, but she left behind a bountiful legacy for future readers to enjoy.

1. Learn about the history and culture of the Dominican Republic.
2. Learn about the history and culture of Maine.
3. Try your own hot cocoa, ice cream, or compromise with hot chocolate ice cream soda.
4. Holly Meade was an accomplished print artist. The Crafty Classroom has a kid-friendly way to simulate woodcuts.
5. Look for these other Perfect Picture Books about chocolate at your local library.
posted by Natalie
posted by Susanna Leonard Hill

posted by Vivian Kirkfield

And the book everyone's been talking about,
No Monkeys No Chocolate, by Melissa Stewart,
Allen Young, and Nicole Wong

Check out all the recommended titles for Perfect Picture Book Friday
for March 7, 2014, available on Susanna Leonard Hill's excellent, chocolaty blog.


  1. Oh so intriguing! What way to pair concepts. Thanks for sharing this PPBF!

    1. There's nothing better than when a book delights in such a surprising way. I hope it helps you grow as an author.

  2. How interesting and I love your suggested activities!

  3. Wow. This one looks really interesting. Thanks for the review.

    1. You'll have to let us know what you think. Thanks.

  4. Love that you included other picture books to go along with your selection.

    1. Thanks, Penny. I'll try to add that feature more often.

  5. A book about chocolate that I've missed? Will have to rectify that situation immediately!

    1. If it's still cold where you are, it will be the perfect panacea. Enjoy!


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