Back in January, when I posted my Themed Thursday list about Entrepreneurship, Angie commented to suggest adding The Lemonade War. I finally read it, and was so pleasantly surprised by its emotional depth, warmth, and seamless incorporation of math lessons.
At the start of the story, Jessie and her older brother Evan learn that, because Jessie has skipped a grade, they will be in the same fourth grade class when school starts in a couple of weeks. Jessie, who has a hard time picking up on social cues, can’t understand why her brother, who is himself self-conscious about his performance as a student, is upset. The pair’s miscommunications grow worse and worse as school gets closer, resulting eventually in a war over whose lemonade stand can raise more money. Embedded in the plot are definitions of vocabulary words related to business, math problems which are solved to further the success of the lemonade stands, and subtle hints at Jessie and Evan’s dad’s abandonment of the family, which contributes to their overall feelings of frustration.
I was really impressed by the level of the writing in this book. Author Jacqueline Davies is a master of showing rather than telling, which makes the lessons her book offers very easy and even enjoyable to swallow. Jessie and Evan clearly have a very close relationship, a concept that can sometimes across as cheesy to kids who fight with their siblings, but Davies handles it in a very straightforward and emotionally honest way, which makes it very plausible and touching. The differences between the two kids are also very carefully and specifically described, and these differences in temperament, personality, and socialization add fuel to the fire of their fight once it begins. Yes, this book does teach the reader about business and math, but it’s also about family relationships, compromise, teamwork, and learning to forgive.
I absolutely loved The Lemonade War. Check back soon for my review of the almost equally as good sequel, The Lemonade Crime.
I borrowed The Lemonade War from my local public library.