________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 18 . . . . January 15, 2016


Clean Sweep: Frank Zamboni's Ice Machine. (Great Idea Series).

Monica Kulling. Illustrated by Renné Benoit.
Toronto, ON: Tundra Books, 2016.
32 pp., hardcover & epub, $19.99 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-77049-795-5 (hc.), ISBN 978-1-77049-521-0 (epub).

Subject Headings:
Zamboni, Frank J., 1901-1988-Juvenile literature.
Zamboni (Trademark)-Juvenile literature.
Skating rinks-Equipment and supplies-Juvenile literature.
Inventors-United States-Biography-Juvenile literature.

Grades 1-5 / Ages 6-10.

Review by Aileen Wortley.

**** /4



In 1927, Frank and Lawrence added an ice-making plant to their business. In those days, people placed blocks of ice in their iceboxes to keep their food cold. Packing plants used block ice to keep fruits and vegetables fresh, even when sending produce across the country by rail.

When people began to own refrigerators, Frank had an idea. "Let's use our ice-making equipment to build a skating rink." "Skating rink? What do we know about skating?" asked Lawrence. "Nothing," said Frank. "But we know how to make ice."

Frank had a problem. Most ice-rink surfaces rippled because of the pipes in the cement floor. These pipes, laid side by side, circulated the salt water that kept the floor cold enough to freeze the water that was sprayed on it.

Frank built a test floor using large, flat water tanks. When he finished making ice on top of it, he ran his hand across the surface. No ripples! The ice was as smooth as glass.

Frank built the Iceland skating rink using this method, but he didn't receive a patent for his rink floor idea until 1946. Thanks to Frank, Iceland had the smoothest ice for miles around.

Frank Zamboni, son of Italian immigrants, discovered his gift for tinkering with machinery as a youngster on the family farm in Idaho. When his eldest brother moved to California to start his own auto-repair shop, Frank and brother Lawrence followed, and eventually Frank attended trade school. Upon graduation, he and Lawrence opened their own business, part of which was an ice-making plant. As widespread refrigeration made ice less necessary, they diverted this aspect of the business into a skating rink, experimenting with different methods to keep the ice smooth. Ice resurfacing was so time-consuming that skaters became frustrated, and so Frank sought a solution. It took nine years of research, experimentation and refinement to perfect the machine now known as the Zamboni that almost simultaneously removes the roughness created by blades and smooths the surface.

      The "Great Idea" series continues to charm readers as they are introduced to the life of Frank Zamboni, a lesser known inventor of a machine that today we take for granted. Once again, Monica Kulling shows the inventor as a real person and demonstrates his perseverance and determination in seeing an idea to fruition. Kulling has created a book that entices, provides a sense of history and hints at the atmosphere of the time. Again she is partnered with an acclaimed illustrator, this time Renné Benoit whose artwork has the reader poring over the expressive, detailed pages. In muted shades of greys, blues and sepia, the watercolour and coloured pencil drawings are a perfect foil for the story with text and illustrations engaging the reader instantly.

      As with other titles in this series, a bibliography or "sources of inspiration" list is included on the colophon page as well as some internet sites which might stimulate further reading. Clean Sweep! begins with a poem about skating and ends with a miscellany of interesting facts about the Zamboni. The book is a great addition to school, public and personal libraries and a great read for those aged six to ten.

Highly Recommended.

Aileen Wortley is a retired librarian living in Toronto, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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