Some people wait for for the sounds of buzzing bees and chirping birds to confirm that spring has sprung.
My 4-year-old daughter, Satya, knows it’s official when she hears the Mister Softee truck. And she’s got a point - there are few things more satisfying that ending a warm day at Church Square Park with a soft serve chocolate and vanilla twist, in a cone, covered in rainbow sprinkles.
So recently when she hit Little City Books for an author event, she was pretty obsessed with “Scoop the Ice Cream Truck” by local Hoboken author and illustrator, Patricia Keeler. (Satya was a few minutes early to the event and even got sketched by Keeler herself and basically lost her mind.)
We’ve since read Scoop about 500,000 times.
The premise is simple enough - Scoop is an old school truck and serves up vanilla cones. That’s it. And while Scoop’s been doing it for awhile, the new trucks in town have all the bells and whistles including fancy waffle cones, toppings galore, and flash frozen, dot-shaped, and organic ice cream varieties. There’s even a truck called Giant that has 26 flavors and specializes in massive Sundaes. Needless to say, Scoop is feeling, well, a little vanilla about his offerings. (Side note: I had no idea what flash frozen ice cream is, googled it, and now want to try it ASAP.)
So while Scoop loves playing with his friend Spunky, a cute little girl who loves his vanilla ice cream and bouncing her ball against the side of the truck, he heads straight to the auto body shop after a run-in with all tricked out trucks. Scoop is getting some work done, but it’s not just a gentle nip and tuck. It’s a full on face lift and his poor little truck frame can’t support all the new moving parts he’s added on to feel like he fits in.
The story is sweet and relatable and Keeler’s illustrations are incredibly charming, particularly Spunky and the adorable way she plays with her pal Scoop. Plus, who hasn’t felt like Scoop every now and then? Scoop works it out in the end - his friend Spunky by his side - and he learns that what really gives us flavor isn’t what we look like, but who we really are and how we make others feel.
The book is perfect for kids 3-6-years-old and is a quick read before bedtime. Although, you should expect a fair amount of ice cream talk and negotiations for when the next trip to the ice cream truck will be, SMH.
And, as always, here are a few questions you can ask your kids to encourage some conversations about the book and beyond:
What’s your favorite ice-cream flavor? Is there one you’ve always wanted to try?
If you could invent the perfect flavor of ice cream, what ingredients would it include?
Scoop is sad that he doesn’t have a fancy truck or fancy flavors, but he is really good at making vanilla ice cream and Spunky loves it. What’s something you’re really good at?
Scoop talks about how he always wanted to go to the mountains. Is there someone you’ve always wanted to go that you haven’t been yet?
Spunky loves playing ball with Scoop. Who is someone you love to play with? How do they make you feel?
If you’re feeling inspired, tag us in some pictures of you and your minis reading. (You can find us at @LittleHoboken + @RaakstarWrites. Also, if I can ever answer any book questions, feel free to holler.)
You can snag your own copy at Little City Books or online here.
Raakhee Mirchandani Singh is a writer, editor, and pediatric cancer crusader. Her first children’s book, “Super Satya Saves the Day”, inspired by her daughter and set in Hoboken is available for pre-order now.