‘Brain Freeze’ by Tom Fletcher (2018)

BRAIN FREEZE by Tom Fletcher
Puffin | 2018 | paperback | 113 pages

A little girl discovers that eating ice cream from her grandfather’s old ice-cream truck gives her the power to travel through time, in this brilliant, funny and heartwarming story from bestselling author Tom Fletcher.

This kid’s chapbook was released as part of this year’s World Book Day, and I read it with my five-year old girl.

She loved it, which should be all the recommendation you need, but that doesn’t make for an incisive review now, does it?

I went into this tale of a time-travelling ice cream van expecting wacky hijinks and amusing historical faux pas – a fun little temporal romp, if you will. While there was a bit of that going on, the core of the story is about a little girl dealing with loss and, on that score, Fletcher nails it.

I don’t think my own little girl got those undertones. She was laughing at the guzzling of ice cream, and an unexpected pit stop in ancient Egpyt, while I was choking back tears in both the first and last couple of chapters as the story comes full circle.

There is a lot to like here. Fletcher doesn’t shy away from giving his story plenty of emotional depth, but incorporates it so that it’s only there if the younger reader wants it to be. For me there was no such escape, I just ended up an unashamedly blubbering wreck, while my daughter looked on, bemused.

Highly recommended.

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