Ice Lolly by Jean Ure

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Ice Lolly by Jean Ure

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Lovely story about dealing with grief, in Ure's usual honest but humorous way. Bookbag loves her kitchen sink dramas and this one is, as ever, highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 208 Date: January 2010
Publisher: Harper Collins
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 0007281730

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It's the funeral. Laurel - Lolly to those that love her - is concentrating very hard and trying desperately to turn into an ice lolly. Ice lollies are frozen, you see, and they don't feel so much. They can't miss people - mothers - who are gone and people who are still around can't hurt them. A frozen heart is a sad thing, but it's a safe thing. Auntie Ellen doesn't like the music at the service, she thinks it's inappropriate. It isn't even a hymn. But it was one of Laurel's mother's favourites, and Laurel think it's just perfect. Special.

Afterwards, Laurel and her ancient cat Mr Pooter are packed up and driven off to the countryside. They're going to live with Auntie Ellen and Uncle Mark now. But it's not easy. Auntie Ellen disapproves of everything Laurel loves and in particular, it seems, everything that reminds Laurel of her mum. She hates books. She hates cats. She thinks bad taste jokes are just, well, bad taste. And she really doesn't like mess.

And then Mr Pooter gets sick...

We at Bookbag love, love, love Jean Ure. Love her. She writes real-life, kitchen sink dramas that inhabit a child's world with absolute credibility. And she does it with such kindliness and generosity of spirit that it quite steals our hearts clean away. But it's not all about heartstring tugging; there's always a good dollop of situational humour in every book, so nobody ever puts one of her stories down feeling sad. There's an ease about her writing that makes you feel as though she has an inexhaustible supply of stories in her head, and all she's lacking is the time to write them down.

Here, Laurel is such a sad little girl. Her mother was very ill for a long time before she died and Laurel did a great deal of caring for her, and this makes her loss even greater. She devoted so much time to caring that most of her friends have drifted away. She truly is alone. The aunt and uncle she goes to stay with aren't bad people, even though they seem that way to Laurel. They are very different though - Auntie Ellen is tremendously houseproud and terribly conventional, where Laurel's mother was scatty, arty and slightly eccentric. This culture shock makes Laurel retreat even further into ice lolly-hood, and everything turns into a bit of a vicious circle.

But Laurel is also brave, and loving, and imaginative. She has a great deal to give and all she really needs is someone to give it to. Of course it all works itself out in the end, but I'll leave you to find out all by yourself.

As ever, highly recommended by us.

My thanks to the lovely people at Harper Collins for sending the book.

Other wonderful books that feature children coping with grief include My Sister Jodie by Jacqueline Wilson, Eggs by Jerry Spinelli, and My Dad's a Birdman by David Almond.

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Buy Ice Lolly by Jean Ure at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Ice Lolly by Jean Ure at


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