Review: Bikes for Sale by Carter Higgins

Bikes for Sale by Carter Higgins

Bikes for Sale by Carter Higgins, illustrated by Zachariah OHora (9781452159324)

Maurice has a bright yellow bicycle attached to his lemonade stand. He never lacks for customers even as he drives through town, into the park with best lemon trees, and then onward. Everyone wants to buy his lemonade. Lotta rides her red bicycle to gather sticks every day. She gave them away for free. The two of them never met, but one day Maurice’s bike crashed because of a stick and Lotta’s bike smashed because of some lemon peels. The two of them tried to move on past their ruined bicycles, but it wasn’t the same. Then one day, they both headed to the bike shop where they found a two-seated bike made from their two ruined ones. But can they share?

Higgins has written several books for children. This one is a dynamic story of two very similar and yet very different characters who both love riding bicycles for very different reasons. Still, one hopes through the story that they become friends. Their sadness at their lost bicycles mirrors one another and there is a chance for a lot of blame to ruin any chances they might have to be friends. But the love of bicycles shines through as the two of them come together to delight people in the parks once more.

OHora’s illustrations make this book a stand out. He uses an incredibly rich and saturated color palette filled with deep reds, gorgeous greens, lemon yellow and bright blues. The bicycles in the illustrations are wonderfully out sized for the characters, making them all the more important in the images.

A book built for two, or more. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy provided by Chronicle Books.

Review: Lemonade in Winter by Emily Jenkins

lemonade in winter

Lemonade in Winter by Emily Jenkins, illustrated by G. Brian Karas

Pauline is the one who looks out on a blustery winter day and thinks of running a lemonade stand.  Her little brother John-John immediately thinks it’s a great idea, but her parents are sure it won’t work.  So the kids set out to collect enough money to open their stand.  They dig in the couch, search pockets, and look in their piggy banks.  At the store they spend 24 quarters or six dollars on supplies.  They rush back home to make the lemonade, the limeade and the lemon-limeade and then out onto the street to set up their stand.  But no one comes.  Then they decide to start marketing their stand more, and surprisingly, there is a market for lemonade in the snow.

Jenkins has taken a picture book and inserted math in places that make sense of the story.  This is one book where the math really works, the counting of coins, the discounting of items, and the profits made.  It’s a book that can be read just for the cheery enjoyment of lemonade and snow too.  The writing is clever with the adults constantly warning the children that it won’t work and an ending that is realistic, warm and refreshing.

Karas’ illustrations are done in his signature style.  I enjoyed seeing children with brown skin in a story that is not about their brown skin at all, it’s just the way they look.  Karas’ art is lively and rich with small details.  The careful counting of the quarters at the grocery store is just one example of how he too skillfully melded in the math with the story.

A winning picture book with math at its heart, this is a story that will have you asking for some more lemonade on a winter’s day.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from copy received from Random House Children’s Books.