Wednesday, April 1, 2020

The Boy Who Invented the Popsicle (Anne Renaud)

Title:  The Boy Who Invented the Popsicle: The Cool Science Behind Frank Epperson’s Famous Frozen Treat 

Author:  Anne Renaud 

Illustrator:  Milan Pavlovic 

Target Ages:  5 and up 

Genre:  Picture Book STEM Biography 

Publisher Summary: 

Young Frank William Epperson always knew he wanted to be an inventor.  He loved to experiment—especially with flavored soda water.  

Frank was determined to create the yummiest, most thirst-quenching soda drink ever.  Not all of his attempts were successful…you could even say some were disastrous.  But Frank never stopped trying, even as he grew up. 

First Lines:
Frank William Epperson knew what he wanted to be when he grew up.

And everyone in Frank’s family knew, too.  Because in case they forgot, he reminded them—often.  

Memorable Moment:  Frank has a creative and effective way to market his new product. 


Frank’s idyllic childhood illustrates the importance of being creative, imaginative, and inquisitive.  His first laboratory was his back porch where he tinkered, tested, analyzed, and scrutinized.   

When he was 10 years old, he completed his first successful invention.  Frank’s example will inspire young readers as they realize they don’t have to wait to grow up to become an inventor.  They can begin doing it right now!

Another essential life and STEM lesson is show in Frank’s experience both succeeding and failing during experimentation.  Without the failures, Frank never would have found the right combination for success.   

Milan Pavlovic’s energetic and entertaining illustrations compliment this engaging text.  

The Boy Who Invented the Popsicle is an ideal family or school text to encourage scientific thinking and doing.  I recommend it for teachers and parents looking to add STEM biographies and models for their children. 

Activities and Extension Ideas for Lesson Plans: 
  • Comparison:  Compare and contrast Frank Epperson with another kid inventor. Try Marvelous Mattie: How Margaret E.Knight Became An Inventor by Emily Arnold McCully. 
  • Characterization:  Discuss the types of activities Frank did in his daily life that lead to his success. 
  • Creativity:  Create a new Popsicle flavor.  Draw a picture of it and write a pitch or advertisement to encourage others to try it. 
  • Nonfiction:  Discuss the difference between fiction and non-fiction.  Compare this non-fiction story about a child inventor with a fiction counterpart like Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts.  
  • Science:  Integrated in the story are 4 related science experiments that children can complete at school or home. 
Additional background information and photographs on the life of Frank Epperson are provided at the end of the story. 

For other books on inventors, click HERE



  1. It's funny how I grew up enjoying popsicles and never once wondered who invented it. I'm looking forward to reading this book and learning more about this remarkable boy, Frank William Epperson.

  2. I agree Leslie! I don't recall Mr. Rogers doing an episode on it either (or I missed it). So easy for something to "have always been" that we forget someone created the idea originally, at some point. This will be a fun book to read. Thanks for featuring it.

  3. And I third Leslie's comment! Looking forward to having a popsicle while I read it, too....

  4. I lived for the daily visits of the ice cream man so I could buy my 5 cents grape popcycles. I know I date myself. Great to learn the story behind them. Fun book for kids.

  5. We enjoyed lots of Popsicles over the summer and never thought of who invented them. Love that this book encourages kids to be creative.


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