Introduce your child to a new type of art with Ice Cream Work

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Disclosure: I received this book to review. The post contains affiliate links; opinions shared are mine.

I’ve never really been in touch with my Japanese heritage.  My kids love to eat certain Japanese foods, and they call their grandmother “Oba” (just as I do).  Beyond that, the only thing that defines our Japanese affinities would be our Honda van.  So when I received Ice Cream Work to review, I didn’t really appreciate the Japanese artwork at first.  It seemed more retro to me; it immediately reminded me of 80’s cartoons.  The muted colors and stylized patterns seemed reminiscent of books from my childhood.  The author’s page revealed that Ice Cream Work represents a unique form of artwork called SUNAE.  Have you heard of it?

Ice Cream Work book review -

SUNAE is an art form that captures scenes through colored sand.  Author/artist Naoshi arranges the tiny grains create an extraordinarily surreal image.  It’s almost like a dream on paper.   The story itself is quirky, with unexpected scenarios and situations.  I loved that there was a seek-and-find section in the back, as well as a how-to for the SUNAE artwork.  The only thing I’d love to see added to Ice Cream Work would be a Japanese language component.  It would be wonderful to see Japanese characters written along with the English translation.  Ice Cream Work is a novelty that will surely inspire many coffee table conversations.

Welcome to my tour stop for Ice Cream Work by Naoshi! This is a children’s picture book and the tour runs September 28 – October 9 with reviews, interviews and more. Check out the tour page for the full schedule.

About the Book:

Release: October 1, 2015
Publisher: Overcup Press
ISBN: 0­9834917­3­9
Price: $14.99 hardcover
Pages: 40
appropriate for ages 3 and up

Where will Ice Cream Man work next??

Ice Cream Man knows there’s lots of work to be done! Whether it’s cheerfully posing next to chocolate cake, beaming team spirit as 1/8th of a sunflower, or glowing bright as he becomes a fabulous night light, Ice Cream Man is ready for the job!

This delicious, quirky children’s book by internationally acclaimed Japanese artist Naoshi combines a whimsical story with colorful sunae (sand art). A “Look & Find” section challenges youngsters to scour the pages for small details, and a “How To Make Sunae” section guides readers step‐by‐step through a “sand painting” art project of their own.

“Ice Cream Work is a meticulous and stunning piece of art. The story exudes a loopy, anarchist joy: chronicling the adventures of a hard­working and stylish frozen dairy confection and his eclectically industrious week.” ­­ Dale Bayse, author of Heck, Where the Bad Kids Go series

Goodreads | Amazon

About the Author:

Naoshi is an internationally acclaimed Japanese illustrator whose  distinctive characters and original style are recognized around the world. She uses  shiny colorful sand to create surreal people living  in the real world. She has participated in a wide range of projects including gallery exhibitions, commercial work, and children’s workshops. Naoshi is a Tokyo based artist currently living in Los Angeles.


Advance Praise for Ice Cream Work: 

“Naoshi’s work is original and unmistakably recognizable. With a dry sense of humor, appreciation of fashion, video games, fine pastries, and just plain fun, each piece by Naoshi is a finely made confection with a charm all her own.” — Ben Zhu, owner of Gallery Nucleus

“Naoshi represents everything I love about contemporary Japanese art: one foot in history, one foot in pop culture, two skilled hands, and her head firmly in a cloud of unadulterated enthusiasm for making art.” — Matt Wagner, author of The Tall Trees of Portland and The Tall Trees of Tokyo

“Naoshi’s pure approach to her art form is inspiring: knowing that the shiny bright colors that bring her stories alive are tiny grains of sand always transfixes me. Naoshi is one of today’s greatest artists.” — Carrie Gifford, founder & creative director of Red Cap Cards

“Some people bury their heads in the sand. Some draw lines in the sand. Sunae artist Naoshi does both: creating surreal worlds alive with wit and whimsy, one vibrantly colored grain of sand at a time. Ice Cream Work is a stunning piece of meticulous­ yet ­oddly spontaneous art that is as sweet and cool as a pint of hand­crafted ice cream. The story has a loopy, anarchist joy about it, rather like The Point by way of Cibo Matto, where a hard­working and stylish frozen dairy confection guides readers through his eclectically industrious week, even divulging how much he is paid for his days of outlandish toil. Children, hipsters, and anyone with an eye for the absurd will thoroughly lap up Ice Cream Work: from the top of its rainbow sprinkles right down to the tip of its sugar cone.” ­ Dale Bayse, author of Heck, Where the Bad Kids Go series.

Check this out….


  1. Sherry Compton says:

    Great idea that it has a look and find section. Sounds like a fun and colorful book.

  2. Alison Gibb says:

    I think this is really cool. I love all the colored sand and it looks like fun to do!!

  3. Ice Cream Work looks like a nice and delicious book to read. I am checking this one out very soon!

  4. That looks like a good book for starting conversations. Which is always a good thing.


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