When I saw The Lemonade Crime by Jacqueline Davies available through Amazon Vine, I knew it was going to be one of the books I picked to review in May. I read The Lemonade War a while ago and enjoyed it. The students I have given it to have loved it - more than I thought they would. My own daughter really, really liked the Lemonade War and was so excited to get a copy of The Lemonade Crime that I had to promise her I would let her read it before I did.
As far as The Lemonade War goes, I liked it. The story centers around siblings Evan and Jessie and the competing lemonade stands they run. The siblings who used to get along are at odds over the summer because Jessie is being skipped ahead a grade and will be in the exact same class as Evan, much to his dismay. At book's end all the money that both sibling have earned mysteriously disappears and Evan and Jessie are pretty sure they know who took it.
The Lemonade Crime picks up where the first book left off and Jessie goes about trying to prove that Scott Spencer, a fourth grade boy in their class, took the money from Evan's shorts pocket when he changed from his swimsuit at a friends house in the room where Evan's shorts were. No one saw him take the money, but Jessie is sure that her circumstantial evidence means he is guilty. Jessie, who has read a legal flier her mother has written begins to set up a trial that will be held to decide Scott's guilt or innocence. Things don't go exactly as planned and Jessie's "slam-dunk" case isn't easily resolved.
I liked this one a lot. A lot. More than The Lemonade War. Sometimes in The Lemonade War it felt like it was written with the intent to teach - making it a bit unbelievable to me at times. I don't think student readers felt the same about it, but that was my initial reaction. Although there is still teaching done in The Lemonade Crime, it didn't feel as forced or contrived. Jessie is able to teach a lot about the legal system and how it works. Each chapter begins with a vocabulary word directly relating to the idea of conducting a trial. While The Lemonade War left off with a bit of a cliffhanger as we wondered what happened to Evan and Jessie's money, there is a good resolution in this installment.
Readers won't be disappointed by this sequel at all. I already have a fifth grade class begging me to let them read The Lemonade Crime, and it also received at thumbs up from my daughter.