Friday, March 01, 2013

Book Love: Lemonade in Winter

TJ was out of town all week for orientation for his *new job*.  (More on that later.)  So I got lots of quality time with my Big Girl T.

We've been reading one of her newer books a lot lately and both of us love it, so I thought I'd rave about it here.  It's Lemonade in Winter: A Book About Two Kids Counting Money by Emily Jenkins and G. Brian Karas.

I first saw it on my hunt for decent wrapping paper for Christmas after being frustrated while wrapping my Book Advent packages.  When I realized that ordering nice wrapping paper online was going to cost me as much in shipping as for the paper itself, I decided to shop locally.

We have a store in Redmond called Packaging Specialties.  It's tucked away in a strip mall, and sells, as you might imagine, boxes and bags and stuff.  It's not a cute boutiquey store - it looks very utilitarian from the outside, and for years I never had a reason to go there.

I needed some food-safe favor bags for T's 2nd birthday party and someone suggested this shop, so I went in, and was amazed at their selection. A lot of their business is targeted towards weddings and food packaging, but they also have gorgeous paper, gift wrap and ribbon.  They also have a small selection of cute hip gift items like those Kikkerland shaped paper clips, craft books, and boxed cards.

Around Christmas they had a display with a few winter and holiday themed kids' books, and since I was looking to add to my collection for Book Advent, my interest was piqued.  I fell in love with Lemonade in Winter as soon as I saw it.

First, as you may have noticed, the little kids in the picture have brown skin and black hair.  Like me!  It's actually harder to find than I expected in picture books for preschoolers.  The baby board books mostly didn't have people in them, or they had photos of all kinds of babies, so we were covered there.

Even better, it tackled a subject I haven't seen in picture books yet - counting money.  T has a piggy bank, and we give her quarters occasionally for doing her "chores", like putting away the silverware or her laundry.  But she doesn't really "get" the money system, or what the different coins mean.  Which is fine, since she's only 3.  I love that we now have a way to start introducing it, especially now that she can count up to 30 or so reliably.

It's really nicely written, with a good rhythm for reading aloud.  There are a couple of cute songs and chants in it, and some poetic wording about the cold and wind.  Pauline and John-John are a brother and sister who decide to host an urban lemonade stand in the dead of winter.  The cast of characters (ie their customers) is varied - a single guy walking his dogs, a young (mixed race!) couple, a mama with twins and 5 manicurists from the nail salon across the street.

It also introduces very simple concepts for running a business - advertising, sales, entertainment, and eventually the concept of profit vs loss.  Some of those concepts may be better for the older kids in the age range, which is supposed to be 3-7 years old.  But T is already picking up on some of them, as we talked about what it means to be "on sale".

Not to mention, she has picked up the phrase "easy peasy lemon squeezy" to use conversationally.  I love that so much more than the things she picks up from watching Cars or Dora, that's for sure.

Like Owl Babies, it's one of those really interesting, well-written, unique picture books that I don't mind reading over and over again, which is just the way my preschooler likes it.  This one will be perfect for our Book Advent next year!


  1. Sounds like a great book! Avi thinks all coins are the same despite our attempts to teach him. Would definitely like him to learn this stuff, thanks for.sharing!

    1. Yeah, there's a cute little extra page in the back where they explain what each coin looks like, what it's worth and how many make up a dollar. It's a little advanced for T but she loves me to read that part anyway. I bet Avi would dig it.

  2. The cover alone make it look like a precious book! And sounds like it has a great story line too! Wonderful!

  3. Thanks for the book info! I am starting to collect books for our little girl and it sounds like a good one:)

  4. Looks like a good book! TFS.

  5. Sounds like a really awesome book. I especially love the customers and that the children are brown skinned. Very cool!

  6. When you have some time, you should write a piece with your list of favourite Baby, Toddler and Pre-School books. KCLS published a list which I thought was okay, a little bit snooty to the extent of leaving out anything that does not qualify as a classic. It still had some great suggestions.

  7. Cool - I will check that one out. I'd also recommend picture books illustrated by LeUyen Pham. Her characters are often diverse just in the natural flow of things, not in a look-at-me-I'm-being-multicultural way.

    1. Thanks for the tip! I do love when it's just part of the book and not conspicuous.


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