Clean Sweep! Frank Zamboni’s Ice Machine by Monica Kulling, illustrated by Renne Benoit

Published by Tundra Books


Summary:  Anyone who’s ever gone ice skating, or watched a sports event that took place on ice, has observed the giant Zamboni machine that drives around the rink and quickly resurfaces the ice.  But 70 years ago, there was no machine, and it took several men 90 minutes or more for that ice treatment.  And for Frank Zamboni, owner of the Iceland rink in California, that was too many man hours.  Fortunately, Frank was a tinkerer who knew a lot about machinery.  He had come up with an innovative way to design Iceland that resulted in smoother ice than other rinks.  Nine years passed, as Frank got busy raising a family and was shut down from working on his machine during World War II.  Many people said what he was trying to do was impossible, but he persevered.  In 1949, his machine took to the ice, and did in minutes what had previously taken over an hour.  Frank named his new machine after himself, which is good, because it’s so much fun to say “Zamboni”.  Today, Zamboni machines are on every continent…except the ice-covered continent of Antarctica.  32 pages; grades K-4.

Pros:  The story of an ordinary man who saw a problem, persevered, and succeeded in solving it.  This would be a great book to include in a unit on inventors and inventions.

Cons:  The poem at the beginning about ice skating is cute but seems sort of unnecessary.

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