Monday, October 7, 2013
The Lemonade War
The Lemonade War
by Jacqueline Davies
HMH Books for Young Readers, 2007
2014 Bluestem Nominee
Publication Date: April 23, 2007
It's just days before school starts and Evan is furious at his little sister, Jessie, because she is skipping a grade and will be in fourth grade with him. Jessie is a very bright girl, especially at math, but reading people is not her strong suit, so she cannot understand why Evan is so angry with her. She decides to ask him to do a lemonade stand to make amends, but he has no interest in working with her and he enlists another friend to set-up a lemonade stand instead. This makes Jessie angry, so she sets up a competing lemonade stand with Megan, a girl in Evan's class and the war is on. Evan and Jessie set-up a competition to see who can earn $100 in three days just by selling lemonade. Will the war tear the two siblings apart, or bring them oddly close together?
First of all, what a great, quick read! I read it in two sittings. Immediately, Jessie reminded me of Emma Jean from Emma Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree, a favorite Caudill of mine from a few years ago. Jessie has few social skills and genuinely does not understand her brother's feelings. This is very difficult for her because she explains her whole thought process and while the reader can see how it makes sense to her, it doesn't make sense to anyone else. That is such a hard place for a young girl to me in, since women tend to be more intuitive and perceptive. To not have those skills is very difficult for Jessie, and she is trying very hard to make new friends for her fourth grade year.
On the other hand, the reader can sympathize with Evan too. He's not the brightest kid and having his kid sister show him up will be very embarrassing. But he is a good big brother and will be such an asset to Jessie, if they ever speak to each other again.
And the war! It was great to see them put marketing strategies to work in their business. They really did come up with some good ideas, and some that were only good on paper. The entire business lesson is a strong classroom connection. A class could have a lemonade stand, or bake sale and use the lessons learned in this book.
Speaking of classroom connections, The Lemonade War is full of math and tricks to make it easier. The triumph that Evan felt when he solved the math problem to find how much profit he would make was great. He was so proud of himself and readers will relate to that feeling.
As a Bluestem, this is a pretty solid book. It is the first in a series, so it has continuing appeal, the reading level is great, the length is good without being too long, and the characters are genuine. Also, there is enough substance to please the teachers and enough action to please the readers.
For a great lesson in business and life, The Lemonade War delivers.