When Grandma Gives You A Lemon Tree (Jamie L.B. Deenihan)

Hello, friends! Our book today is When Grandma Gives You A Lemon Tree, written by Jamie L.B. Deenihan and illustrated by Lorraine Rocha, a delightful lesson in appreciating our gifts.

Despite providing a birthday wish list of high-tech toys, the unnamed girl who serves as narrator instead receives a lemon tree from Grandma. Speaking to the reader in second person, she advises that should they be disappointed in this way, it’s important to be polite and accept the unwanted gift with grace, and definitely not pout or whine or destroy the tree. Instead, she advises, go ahead and place it in a sunny spot, don’t overwater, and protect it from pests. The girl (and the reader) find that the more she cares for her tree – with help from her neighborhood friends – the more she grows attached to it. When summer brings a bounty of fresh lemons, she is ecstatic. Grandma helps her make and sell lemonade at a stand, earning her enough money to buy some of her expensive toys… but is that really what she wants after all?

Wonderful! A reminder that some of the best gifts aren’t just things, but experience. Watching the girl grow to love her “unwanted” lemon tree – she even names it “Lola” over the winter – is heartwarming, and the payoff (she uses her lemonade money to purchase plants and convert the empty lot next to her row house into a community garden) is fantastic. The story encourages learning, trying new things, hard work, a love of botany, and a sense of community, and Rocha’s charming characters and vibrant plants and environment are a celebration of all these. The length is perfect for bookworms of any age, and JJ loved it. Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

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