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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Lemonade in Winter, written by Emily Jenkins and illustrated by G. Brian Karas. Scwartz & Wade, Random House. 2012. $19.99 ages 3 and up

"Lemon lemon LIME,
lemon LIMEADE!
Lemon lemon LIME,
All that it will cost ya?
Fifty cents a cup!
All that  it will cost ya?
Fifty cents a cup!"

Winter can bring out the best in people, I think. This brother and sister act are a case in point. Admittedly, it's tougher to convince yourself that fresh air and exercise are good for your when the warm air freezes in your nasal passages, and your cheeks feel like circles of ice in no time. But, cold winter days don't always offer spirited fun on the inside. That being said, the two decide to open an outdoor Lemonade Stand, despite the frigid weather.

Of course, there are warnings about the zaniness of their plan, but they are sure they can make a go of it and are willing to ignore the many obstacles. So, they will make lemonade, they will make limeade, and they will make lemon limeade. The needed items are purchased, and the price is set! For only 50 cents, passers-by can have a refreshing cold drink...on an even colder day!

Enthusiastic and not to be thwarted by mere circumstance, the two show their spunk as they wait for customers to brave the cold, wintry weather to partake of their offer. They sing a song, they perform acrobatics, they artistically design an attractive storefront...finally, they must do as all shop owners often do. They lower their prices in order to boost sales. Their first foray into the business world cannot be termed a rousing success; but, they show grit and entrepreneurship in sticking to their plan and not being disheartened by the initial results. Pauline and John-John are to be admired for their pluck and persistence. They are a great team!

Have I mentioned that it is a math book, too? There is talk about money and little lessons about how the marketplace works:

"Pauline and John-John collect quarters.
They empty piggy banks and search pockets.
"Each time you get four quarters, that's a dollar," says Pauline.
"Four quarters, that's money!" says John-John."

Never do the math lessons overwhelm this story of the children themselves. They are delighted to be sharing the adventure, and supportive of the each other's role. They carry on with great camaraderie and wonder...and that is the best of all!

G. Brian Karas uses brush and walnut ink on paper, colored in Photoshop and finished with pencil to create a wintry world of wonder for Pauline and John-John. His palette of browns and grays does not dampen the spirit the two exhibit. The details are endearing...witness John-John using pieces from his parents' jigsaw puzzle to build a train under the table where they are working. And, his visual displays of the money spent for supplies, then collected at the stand, then spent again when the business closes, are spot on for young readers. The explanation of money by sister for brother at the end of the book is an added delight!

I love, love, love it!

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