Donna O'Donnell Figurski's Blog

It's All About Me!

Teacher’s Pets #4 The Sundae Scoop

by Stuart J. Murphy, illustrated by
HarperCollins Publishers
Ages 6 and Up

Most kids love ice cream. They love as it drips down their fingers and smears their noses and they love to swirl their tongues around its creamy flavor. So what could be more fun than making ice cream sundaes for the school picnic? In The Sundae Scoop written by Stuart J. Murphy, Emily, Lauren, and James decide to do just that.

They take chocolate and vanilla ice cream, add caramel and hot fudge sauces and two toppings to make a variety of different sundae combinations But when Emily wonders exactly how many combinations they can make, Winnie, the cafeteria lady, pulls out her chalkboard to demonstrate. The use of the chalkboard, as a graphic organizer, makes this difficult math concept easy for youngsters to understand. What a clever technique by Murphy to combine reading fun with math skills.

Cynthia Jabar’s bright, perky illustrations combined with Murphy’s yummy story make this a very inviting book.

FROM the MOUTHS of KIDDLE CRITers: a critique group

“I liked the book because it was using math and numbers,“ said Pritka.

“It was kind of like math,” agreed Annie. “When they were spilling stuff, they were subtracting. And they were always spilling stuff.” she giggled. “I think they were a little clumsy.”

“It would be fun to have something like that at our school,” said Lucy. “Everyone would come.”

Juan’s eyes lit up. “That’s a super duper idea,” he said.

“Yeah, we could make ice cream sundaes . . . just like they did in the book,” said Zach.

Lucy thought for a moment. “But, it would be hard to decide which flavors to have,” she said.

“How about Toenail-Fingernail Twist?” said Zach with an impish grin.

“Ewww.” groaned Meg and bopped him on the head with her paper.

“We could make the largest ice cream sundae ever,” said Annie. “And . . . I want a banana and two cherries on mine.”

“This book is making me hungry,” said Zach.

“Me too,” agreed Keisha.

Then Juan stated it very simply, “I like this book because I like ice cream.



Brainstorm a list of ice cream flavor words. Record on chart paper.


Brainstorm a list of ice cream words. Record on chart paper.


Now be inventive. Mix and match the words on the two charts to make some new combinations. For added fun have children work in small groups.

strawberry . . . . swirl
peach . . . . . . . crunch

Go a step farther.

Brainstorm a list of weird words. Record on chart paper.


Now be even more inventive. Mix and match the three charts to make some very unusual combinations.

chocolate . . . . . liver . . . . .dip . . . . chocolate liver dip
strawberry . . . . squirrel . . .swirl . . . strawberry squirrel swirl
banana . . . . . . garbage . . crunch . .banana garbage crunch
orange . . . . . . .mustard . . cluster . .orange mustard cluster
mint . . . . . . . . .pickle . . . .ripple . . .mint pickle ripple

What a delicious way to increase vocabulary.


Make a set of flash cards using the words in the LANGUAGE ARTS FUN lesson.

Write ice cream words on each card.

Use these cards as flash cards. Children can take turns flashing the card other children to read.

This is a great example of kiddles teaching kiddles.


Children will have fun creating sundae combinations with Unifix Cubes. (interlocking cubes)
Assign each flavor, sauce, and topping a Unifix Cube color. Write the following KEY on the chalkboard.


Vanilla . . . . ===> yellow cube
Chocolate . .===> brown cube
Hot Fudge . ===> purple cube
Caramel . . .===> orange cube
Sprinkles . .===> red cube
Nuts . . . . . ===> blue cube

Reproduce the chart on page 15 by writing it on the chalkboard.

Have children use the code on the board to construct their unifix sundaes.

vanilla-hot fudge–sprinkles chocolate-hot fudge–sprinkles

vanilla-hot fudge–nuts chocolate-hot fudge–nuts

vanilla-caramel–sprinkles chocolate-caramel–sprinkles

vanilla-caramel–nuts chocolate-caramel–nuts

If you like The Sundae Scoop, you may also like the following books.

Ice Cream by Elisha Cooper (find out how ice cream is made)
Wemberly’s Ice Cream Star by Kevin Henkes (for the board book crowd)

For a list of wild ice cream flavors visit these sites:

Goodrich Ice Cream Menu

Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream – Our Flavors

Hotlicks Ice Cream Flavors

Disclaimer: Names of child reviewers have been changed to maintain their privacy.


November 15, 2011 - Posted by | Teacher's Pets: Book Reviews | , , , , , , ,


  1. Donna, I just shared this post on my Facebook page. Well written and I love that this book exists. Just ordered it through my library and might even buy it for a Christmas gift.

    Comment by Kathleen Richardson | November 16, 2011 | Reply

    • Thanks, Kathleen. What made this book stand out for you? Sorry I didn’t get to stop by on my way home this week. Plans were changed. Hope to see you the next time through.

      Comment by donnaodonnellfigurski | November 16, 2011 | Reply

  2. What made it stand out for me? Well, first off, it’s about ICE CREAM, and my grandsons should love it. As a former homeschooling parent, this is the kind of book/learning I was always on the lookout for when my daughter was school age. Also, it totally appeals to my curiosity… how many combinations could be made??

    Comment by Kathleen Richardson | November 17, 2011 | Reply

  3. Hi Kathleen,

    You are spot on about The Sundae Scoop. Stuart J. Murphy writes tons of books – all with a great learning/fun lesson as the focus. I understand why you would find this book good for homeschooling. I used many of Murphy’s books in my classroom. What better way to teach and learn than through reading-fun! Here is his website for more great books.


    Comment by donnaodonnellfigurski | November 17, 2011 | Reply

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