Book Review: The Lemonade War

LEMONADE WARThe reviews for Jacqueline Davies’ The Lemonade War are mostly good, but after being critical of Island of the Blue Dolphins, I find myself reluctant to call this one how I read it:

I liked it.

I didn’t know what to expect, really. My daughter had pulled it from the shelf in her classroom, telling me that her teacher was very picky about what was there and so curated a very good collection. Even so, I was dubious because A) I hadn’t heard anything else about it and B) the cover is really not so great. It looks low-budget in the worst way. Doesn’t make me want to read it.

While it is true that The Lemonade War is both a painless economics lesson and leaves room for math exploration, I liked it not because of those things, but because it is neat and endearing. It’s a quick read, and characters are not tremendously fleshed out, but you get interested in their story and charmed by the whole thing. It’s almost like a more modern Beverly Cleary novel, but with different children.

It was predictable. It was entertaining. It is a painless lesson in economics with optional math exploration. I would recommend it.

And—surprise!—there are more. It didn’t seem like a series to me, and I didn’t actually love the book, so I didn’t know until this moment that there are more in the series. I would recommend you try the first one, and if you or your kid like it, try the second. The series is as follows:

  • The Lemonade War
  • The Lemonade Thief
  • The Bell Bandit
  • The Candy Smash
  • The Magic Trap


And it seems to me that at least some of them also contain an educational pill. More math? History? If you are in charge of someone’s elementary education, even better. Use these books as ways to enhance their learning, and they probably won’t even notice. This would also be a great summer read, accompanied by a good, old-fashioned lemonade stand. Or even just lots of lemonade.


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