|The Red Lemon
by Bob Staake
When round, happy lemon grower Farmer McPhee sees that his crop of fruit is ripe for the picking in his wide orchard along the blue sea, he goes at it with the exuberance of someone who loves what he does and is passionate about the (ahem) fruits of his labor. He sings the praises of his crop in high-spirited rhyme:
"There's nothing like lemons.
But as Farmer McPhee starts picking and packing the lemons into crates to be shipped to stores by train and made into sherbet, pie, lemonade, cookies, cakes, muffins and shakes, he spies an astonishing anomaly: one lone lemon is not yellow - it's red!
This fruit isn't mellow.
They're tart -
"It's as red as a stop sign!
Worried that people will be too alarmed by the wrong-hued fruit, Farmer McPhee hurls the offending red lemon out into the sea, where it lands on a small, empty island.
It's as red as a rose!
I can't have red lemons
where yellow fruit grows!
Imagine a world where
Where once-yellow cupcakes
are crimson instead!"
Years pass - two hundred - and Farmer McPhee's "big lemon orchard's now nothing but - weed." But upon that small island has sprung up a city, and in the middle of it a great red lemon tree grove. The islanders love their red lemons, using them in all the sorts of goodies once made with Farmer McPhee's yellow lemons; indeed, people cross the ocean just to eat the sweet red fruit.
Bob Staake's serendipitous story charms all around, with its lively rhymes, its bright, sharp illustrations, and the final surprising twist. Staake has written and illustrated many critically acclaimed books for children and adults. His illustrations have appeared in Time, MAD Magazine, and the Washington Post, and his client list includes Children's Television Workshop, Nickelodeon, Disney, and Cartoon Network.
That comes as no surprise to readers of The Red Lemon, where his crisp yet effervescent take on this tangy subject cannot fail to entice
both the children and grownups lucky enough to have this tale burst open