Thursday, August 30, 2012

Picture Book Thursday: Lemonade in Winter

LEMONADE IN WINTER: a book about two kids counting money by Emily Jenkins, illustrated by G. Brian Karas. Holly usually does Picture Book Thursday, but Random House sent me an e-galley of this title, and Lilah and I enjoyed it so much I'm posting a review. It is freezing outside when Pauline decides to open a lemonade stand. No, make that lemonade, limeade, and lemon-limeade! Her little brother, John-John eagerly joins in, while their parents warn that no one will be outside in this weather. Pauline and John-John are undeterred, and head to the store after ransacking the couch cushions for quarters. They come up with twenty-four quarters, enough for lemons, limes, sugar, and cups. A lovely illustration lays this out visually, with the quarters needed for each item beside that item. They get to work and set up their stand...and no one is outside. They try a number of strategies to attract customers, including a cute little song that is repeated on several pages. They are not bothered by the dearth of customers and appear to be having the time of their lives as they happily bellow out their lemonade song, John-John does cartwheels, and they reduce the price in a lemonade sale. Once the lemonade, limeade, and lemon-limeade run out, they total their earnings, and Pauline is dismayed to realize that they spent more than they earned! John-John helps her find the bright side to this entrepreneurial failure, and the story ends with Pauline's very concise, entertaining explanation of American currency for John-John.

I read this with my five-year-old daughter, and we both loved it. We loved the soft, muted illustrations, which include sly details like John-John assembling puzzle pieces under the table before the children head outside. I have tried to get my child interested in the values of coins, to no avail, but she sat rapt through Pauline's explanation (in which she says that nickels are confusing and she wishes they were purple or something). The story is utterly positive, from the moment the kids start their project in spite of their parents' gentle warnings that winter is not the best time to sell lemonade, and the looks of joy on their faces as they attempt to lure customers are priceless. The entrepreneurial spirit, the brother-sister joint project, the creativity the children display at their stand (rewarded by their bemused neighbors), and the lesson that profit isn't the highest value would have made for a wonderful story even without the clear, engaging math lesson! Seriously, my child has shown zero interest in the value of coins, but she was hanging on every word as Pauline explained it to her little brother. Available September 11. I recommend pulling it out on a cold, snowy day when the children are getting cabin fever!

Source disclosure: I received access to an early electronic edition of this title from Random House Children's Books.

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