Lemonade Wars: The Candy Smash
Written by Jacqueline Davies
Illustrated by Cara Llewellyn
Valentine candy hearts mysteriously appear at each desk in Room 4-0. Day is hard enough between decorating their boxes and all the mushy stuff. Top it off with Mrs. Overton’s poetry study and weirdness is the order of the day. Evan finds that he actually likes the poetry and looks forward to the Poem of the Day. Jessie, his sister, would rather write top-notch newspaper stories like their reporter father. She has started a fourth grade newspaper and is looking for her front-page story. Then the candy hearts show up and she decides that solving the mystery will be the blockbuster lead story she is looking for. The hearts seem to be the only clue to who has a crush on who. While Evan is busy writing poems and hiding them, Jessie is investigating (some might call it sneaking around). She decides to do a survey since the “crush” angle is the only one she has. Jessie seems to be on a collision course to embarrassing everyone in Room 4-0, especially her own brother.
This is the fourth installment of the Lemonade War series. Evan’s poetic tendencies and the techniques he has learned for writing poetry are portrayed with sensitivity and realism as poetry writing is not something most young men are proud of. Jessie’s struggles ring true, both as a gifted kid who has been promoted out of her age group and someone who wants to prove herself to her absent father. The author tells us that this is a love story: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rF4rlUB86Ms) but not just love between a boy and a girl, but a grandmother and grandchild, a person and their pet and even a boy and poetry. Poetry is the way the characters express that love in quite touching ways. The author uses the poetry-writing techniques she teaches in her poetry residency, a program for kids in third through eighth grades. These are a great model for poetry literacy activities not only demonstrated in the book but also on the video. There is more on the author’s website: (http://www.jacquelinedavies.net/for_teachers.html). The reading level might be a bit high for some fourth graders; but it would make a good class read aloud.