cover image It Began with Lemonade

It Began with Lemonade

Gideon Sterer, illus. by Lian Cho. Dial, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-7352-2828-3

Sterer (The Midnight Fair) writes a make-lemonade story with a twist. A tan-skinned child sporting black braids, a blue-and-white dress, and a resolute expression readies a lemonade stand on a hot summer day. “I chopped and measured, squeezed and stirred... until I had something delicious.” The child’s caretaker, bearded and stocky, builds a wheeled stand to take out onto their city block. But in a visually funny turn, the city sidewalk is already crammed with other stands, and the protagonist, disheartened, wanders farther. Suddenly, the stand rolls toward a river, leaving a trail behind it like an out-of-control lawn mower, until it lands on a riverbank, where “something thirsty” arrives via the waterway. Soon, child and stand cater to a growing menagerie of parched creatures. “As I looked out from that riverbank,” the child narrates, “it felt just like a dream.” The unexpected developments feel dreamy, too, as Cho’s (The Oboe Goes Boom Boom Boom) sprightly art, filled with invention and wit, give still more charm to a story about doing one’s best with what one’s given, and of transitioning from city to wilderness. Ages 4–8. [em](May) [/em]