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Children's Nonfiction Historical

Clean Sweep! Frank Zamboni's Ice Machine

Great Idea Series

by (author) Monica Kulling

illustrated by Renne Benoit

Initial publish date
Jan 2017
Historical, Science & Technology, General
Recommended Age
5 to 8
Recommended Grade
k to 3
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2016
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2017
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


Now in paperback. Meet Frank Zamboni, whose determination and persistence led to his invention of the now-famous Zamboni ice-resurfacing machine.
When Frank Zamboni, along with his brother and cousin, opened their own skating rink in 1940 in Paramount, California, it could take an hour and a half for a crew to resurface the ice. They had to level the surface by shaving down the pits and grooves with a tractor, remove the shavings, wash the ice and find a way to give the rink its shining finish. Skaters became exasperated with the wait, so Frank was determined to do something about it. Could he turn a ninety-minute job for five men into a ten-minute task for only one? Working in the shed behind his ice rink, Frank drew designs and built models of machines he hoped would do the job. For nine years, he worked on his invention, each model an improvement on the one before. Finally, in 1949, Frank tested the Model A, which "cleaned the ice in one sweep around the rink." The rest is history.

About the authors

Monica Kulling is the author of over forty books for children, including the popular Great Idea series, stories of inventors. The third book in the series, In the Bag! Margaret Knight Wraps It Up, was nominated for the 2012 Governor General’s Award for illustration and chosen as the 2012 Simon Wiesenthal Honor Book. In addition, Monica’s work has been nominated for numerous Silver Birch Express and Golden Oak awards. Her recent picture books include Lumpito and the Painter from Spain and Mister Dash and the Cupcake Calamity. Monica Kulling lives in Toronto, Canada. Visit her at

Monica Kulling's profile page

Renné Benoit is living her childhood dream of being an artist. Trained in graphic design, she is the award-winning illustrator of more than 15 books for children. Her awards include the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award for Children's Literature for Proud as a Peacock, Brave as a Lion; the OLA Silver Birch Express Award for The Secret of the Village Fool; and the Christie Harris Illustrated Children's Literature Prize for both Fraser Bear and Goodbye to Griffith Street. The latter was also nominated for the Amelia Frances Howard Gibbon Award. Big City Bees was nominated for the Governor General's Literary Award for Children's Illustration, and A Year of Borrowed Men was a finalist for the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award, among others. Renné lives in St. Thomas, Ontario.


Renne Benoit's profile page

Editorial Reviews

PRAISE FOR Spic-and-Span!:
"In Spic-and-Span, Monica Kulling tells Gilbreth's life story with warmth and clarity." --The Boston Globe

"This engaging picture-book biography details the many accomplishments of Lillian Gilbreth . . . creating context so that young readers can appreciate the extent of her contributions." --Booklist
PRAISE FOR Proud as a Peacock, Brave as a Lion:
"The text is complemented beautifully with Benoit's artwork rendered in watercolours and gouache. The gentle wash of colours is soft and expressive . . . captures the ambience of a time, long ago. Highly Recommended." --CM Magazine
"Renné Benoit's subtle gouache and watercolour illustrations are perfectly attuned." --The Globe and Mail

User Reviews

Another Winner in the Great Ideas Series

Another excellent entry in this series which introduces children to some unique inventions and their inventors. The invention of the Zamboni by Frank Zamboni is discussed here with interest. A brief biography of his life from birth, the importance of his brothers in his life as they worked together in the ice business, then electrical, and how Frank came up with the idea to invent a machine that would do the job of maintaining the skating rink ice which was taking 90 minutes manually. Kulling never talks down to her audience in this series and presents colourful and interesting subjects and unique inventions. This book, as well as others in the series, is appealing to an adult as well as the intended picturebook juvenile audience: always the sign of a well-written children's book. I love Benoit's illustrations as well. They have a clear 1930s/40s look to them giving a distinct atmosphere to the story's historical setting. Another winner in the "Great Ideas" series.

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