The Lemonade War

by Jacqueline Davies (2007)

Can math provide a theme for a One School, One Book selection? You bet your calculator it can.

The Lemonade War is of course not just about – or even really about – math. It just isn’t afraid to use it.

The Lemonade War is about Evan Treski and his younger sister Jessie. Jessie wants to keep up with her brother – which is easy because she’s smart – numbers smart, math smart, business smart. What Jessie is missing is that social sense – some call it Emotional I.Q. – that allows her to read and understand how others react to her intelligence and her drive. Like her brother Evan.

As much as he loves her, Evan smarts at his sister’s creativity and energy and non-stop persistence – and most of all at the notion that she may be joining him in the 4th grade.

Evan and Jessie’s relationship – Evan’s confused feelings, Jessie’s confused feelings – form the backdrop to Jacqueline Davies’s perceptive, sensitive lemonade war. The foreground is the competetion that Evan and Jessie have – with their friends – a competition premised on a bet over who can sell the most lemonade over the summer.

That foreground competition makes for a lively, brisk read that always engages both students and parents. But as Evan and Jessie duke it out over supplies and advertising and marketing techniques – they also have to use some math. (Jessie is better than Evan here.) And Jacqueline Davies does not shy from providing the math lessons – the questions that haunt Evan – and that ought to interest and perhaps challenge and hopefully motivate your students.

No, it’s not a math book. It’s a well-written, funny, insightful children’s novel – that includes the math. And that means you can do all the traditional One School, One Book activities with it – the funny, mysterious, engaged assembly; the daily trivia questions; the ‘best lemonade’ tasting banquet- AND you can also do some math. (As dozens of One School, One Book schools have already tried and learned.) What more could you ask for?