The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies is the first in a series of books that tells the story of two siblings – Jessie and Evan – who are budding entrepreneurs, rivals, but ultimately, good friends.
The story is highly engaging for students and many will want to continue reading the other four books in the series (see The Lemonade Crime, The Bell Bandit, The Candy Smash, and The Magic Trap). Teachers will enjoy this book because it introduces basic economic principles and vocabulary throughout the text. The book connects well with and supports a social studies unit on economics. It also inspires students to pursue their own business adventures.
The story takes place at the end of summer before the start of another school year. The reader is introduced to Jessie and Evan at a time when Evan is trying to avoid Jessie. These two siblings are generally good friends and enjoy one another’s company. They also make a good business partnership because Jessie is very good with numbers and Evan is good with people. However, Evan and Jessie recently found out that Jessie, who is skipping 3rd grade, will be in the same 4th grade class as Evan. This news is understandably traumatic for Evan who is afraid of looking dumb compared to his little sisters.
The rising action of the story includes Evan and Jessie’s attempts to out due one another with their competing lemonade stands. Although Jessie and Even previously worked together, they challenge each other to see who can make the most money by Labor Day. As they each pursue their economic adventures, they learn the fundamentals of good business. The climax of the story demonstrates that there is more at stake than simply winning the competition. Jessie and Evan’s relationship is at stake. In a moment of desperation and fear that the other has won the competition, both Jessie and Evan sabotage the other’s efforts. Ultimately, both learn a valuable lesson, and they are reconciled on Labor Day. The story is left unfinished because one of Evan’s friends steals his money. The second book in the series, The Lemonade Crime, takes place at school where Jessie and Evan set up court to discover who stole the lemonade money.
Although it is not explicitly stated, the author seems to suggest that Jessie may fall somewhere on the Autism spectrum and so the book can also be used to teach understanding and compassion for those who, like Jessie, have a hard time understanding people’s feelings.