When Grandma gives you a lemon tree, definitely don’t make a face! Care for the tree, and you might be surprised at how new things, and new ideas, bloom.
“Charms from cover to cover.” —Kirkus (Starred review)
“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” In this imaginative take on that popular saying, a child is surprised (and disappointed) to receive a lemon tree from Grandma for her birthday. After all, she DID ask for a new gadget! But when she follows the narrator’s careful—and funny—instructions, she discovers that the tree might be exactly what she wanted after all. This clever story, complete with a recipe for lemonade, celebrates the pleasures of patience, hard work, nature, community . . . and putting down the electronic devices just for a while.
Gardening tips abound in this delightful guide to caring for a lemon tree. The unnamed protagonist has a carefully drawn-out list of acceptable electronics she wants for her birthday. But Grandma instead brings…gasp…a lemon tree. The second-person text covers appropriate and inappropriate reactions and then advises readers to accept the potted present politely and wait for Grandma to leave or take a nap. Then you definitely shouldn’t: drop it from a bridge, send it aloft with balloons, or ‘play ding dong ditch’ with it (all illustrated with wry understatement). Instead, the narrator offers some incredibly important do’s: put the fruit tree ‘in a sunny spot’ (the grassy verge between sidewalk and street), don’t overwater it, and ‘battle against intruders’ who seem to come from all directions. After nearly a year of caring for her reluctantly received sapling, the protagonist joyously picks her lush lemons, and Grandma even returns to help make some fresh lemonade, the sale of which leads to more plants for her burgeoning garden. Rocha’s colors and characters leap right off the page, encouraging readers to get out into the world and create life, beauty, and some great-tasting lemonade (recipe included). The community is diverse and urban, with no lack of personality and detail. The protagonist and Grandma are both black, she with black pigtail puffs and Grandma with a white poof of hair. Charms from cover to cover.” —Kirkus (Starred review)
“In this debut picture book, Deenihan offers a charmingly literal rendition of the proverbial phrase ‘when life gives you lemons, make lemonade,’ with a colorful and cute story of a child who gets an unwanted birthday gift from grandma: a lemon tree. Once her mischievous plots to rid herself of the tree fail, a fruitful alternative arises: nurture the tree to make lemonade to sell in order to get what she really wants. In addition to the comical efforts of the girl, this playful picture book showcases the concept of delayed gratification. The girl truly has to wait for good things to come to fruition, and once they do, she makes some surprising choices (perhaps just what Grandma wanted). These concepts are enhanced by the eyecatching colors, bold cartoon figures with deeply expressive faces, and diverse cast of characters in Rocha's illustrations, which are filled with plenty of fun background details to pore over. A nice complement to Matt de la Peña's Last Stop on Market Street (2015) or Katherine Pryor’s Zora’s Zucchini (2015).” —Booklist