humor, social-emotional, spotlight

Spotlight: Ice Cream Face/Two Dogs

Ice Cream Face (Nancy Paulsen Books)
Written & Illustrated by Heidi Woodward Sheffield

For ages: 3-7
It’s hard for kids not to have a strong opinion about ice cream. Ask your students what their favorite flavor of ice cream is the next time you’re gathered on the carpet, having a morning meeting. The conversation will keep itself alive for much longer than you likely plan on it. In Ice Cream Face, readers meet a little boy who loves the tasty cold treat just as much as your students. What’s happening in the book is less a celebration of dessert and more an exploration of emotions and how we express them through our faces.

The narrator observes the faces he sees from people enjoying their ice cream and that there is a healthy variety of expressions from contentment to excitement. He doesn’t take his time when he finally gets his own cone (topped with red, blue, and yellow Superman ice cream). This results in a brain freeze face, an expression of pain. When his ice cream falls on the pavement, another emotion comes out of this little guy. Ice Cream Face is an excellent piece of social-emotional literature, helping students understand how to read others’ faces and express their emotions appropriately. 


1. Using the two-page spread that shows the different ice cream faces, have students compose a paragraph where they explain which face best matches their kind of ice cream face. They should be very descriptive in connecting the picture and how they feel when eating ice cream.

2. Have students draw their brain freeze faces and talk about solutions the students may have to deal with this painful state.

3. Students can write a letter to this book’s ice cream-loving main character. They should pick their favorite ice cream flavor and write a short persuasive piece to convince them to eat it. Three pieces of evidence should be provided as to why this is the best flavor.

Two Dogs (Michael di Capua Books)
Written & Illustrated by Ian Falconer

For ages: 4-8
Augie and Perry are a pair of dachshunds who get left alone at home when their doting owner leaves for the day. So what do the boys do? They get up to so much trouble. Falconer’s illustrations could not be more suited to this silly tale of canine silliness. Augie is slightly more serious than Perry, and each animal has their personality so well-drawn, even in broad strokes. Augie will cock an eyebrow and show concern as Perry runs here and there living it up. 

The two dogs figure out how to open the back door and find themselves in the lush and promising locale of the backyard. There are flowers to “water” in only the way a dog can. There’s raccoon poop to roll around in (thankfully, not shown with much detail, lol). A pool to practice their diving in. A yard to dig up. This is puppy paradise. The sound of a car pulling into the driveway suddenly pulls the pooches back to reality. Will they face the consequences for the day of fun? These are some intelligent weiner dogs, so don’t assume they don’t already have a plan.


1. Students can make a rules poster on the fridge so that the next time the owner goes out, these two dogs will know what they are and are not allowed to do.

2. Have students imagine their pets’ actions when no one is at home. If they do not have pets, have them think about a family member or friend’s pets. Then, write a short story about what sort of trouble these pets get up to. There should be three different incidents in the story.

3. Students can make a cover and title for an imagined sequel. Using the words “Two Dogs,” what will they get up to next? “Two Dogs Go to the Zoo,” perhaps? Or maybe “Two Dogs Sneak Into School” for a fun story?

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