Monday, June 18, 2012

The Red Lemon by Bob Staake

The Red Lemon by Bob Staake

Rating: 4.5 stars

Farmer McPhee is a lemon farmer; he grows beautiful yellow, tangy, tasty lemons in an orchard that goes on for miles.  Staake's words are almost like a chant, and McPhee is clearly the cheerleader for his own lemons.    
Lemons for sherbert and lemons for pie!
Lemons for drinks on the Fourth of July!
Lemons for cookies and sweet birthday cakes!
Lemons for muffins and fresh fruity shakes!
Then...GASP!...a red lemon grows on a tree.  Farmer McPhee freaks out, plucks the offending fruit from his otherwise yellow lemon tree, and hurls it across the ocean to an island.  The book fades out (well, not really, get the picture) and two hundred years pass.  Turns out, in the future, there are no yellow lemon trees on the isle where Farmer McPhee once farmed.  Instead, on the new island, are red lemon trees that are even tangier and sweeter and tastier.  Who knew?

"That lemon's not yellow. / My goodness it's red!"
I love it!  I love ANY book that allows me to say: "Why don't you try it?  Might be better than what you know."  My kids are good eaters, but there are always new tastes to be had.  Usually, I whip out a taste test--it's my main tool to get them to try new things.  Which do you like better: Red or green apples?  Pasta in marinara or pesto?  Kale chips or beet chips (yup, another crazy beet recipe)?  Or, like last week, red or yellow raspberries?  Try something new--you might like it.

Staake says this book is one of his favorites.  When asked what he wanted to teach through the book, he states:  "Don't be afraid of the unusual, embrace the uncommon, evolve or die.  It's Farmer McPhee's intolerance, fearful assumptions and lack of seeing the bigger picture that literally dooms his future...  After all, when life serves you red lemons, the smart thing to do is make red lemonade."

I'm pretty sure I'll wait a few years to tell my kids that they need to "evolve or die," but I like the rest of what Staake has to say about his book, and in his book.

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