#61 – The Lemonman: A Picnic, A Toad, and Swampwater Road by Natasha Ferrill

4 stars

This is the first book in The Lemonman Series by Natasha Ferrill and illustrated by Jose Pou.  The entire premise of the Lemonman is based on a The Story of Applenook.  This is about an odd couple who tended a garden in Applenook.  One morning their magic floated beyond their reach and then sprinkled all the fruits and vegetables in the garden.  The magic turned the fruits and veggies into living beings, including the Lemonman.

The story is simple enough.  The Lemonman calls a couple of friends and invites them to a picnic in the park.  On the way there, Lemonman comes upon a young friend named Timmy Pear.  Timmy is with his new friend, Cunningham C. Toad, and introduces Mr. Toad to Lemonman.  Neither of the fruits knew Mr. Toad was a scam artist.  This fiendish Toad ends up with Lemonman’s  picnic basket, leaving Lemonman nothing for lunch.  Timmy Pear feels bad that he introduced Mr. Toad to Lemonman and plays a trick on the fiendish Toad.

This is an interesting little story about friendship, loyalty, forgiveness, and a little justice.  The illustrations are attractive and colorful.  These lively pictures tell the story quite well.  They will amuse young children, who may never look at fruits and veggies quite the same way, after reading this picnic adventure.  Written in rhyming verse, the story lines hit the mark most of the time.  I think this series will get better with each new story.  Ms. Ferrill seems to understand the type of humor young children enjoy.  Her writing is entertaining and she tries to teach moral lessons slyly, so as to not be noticed.

Explaining how the characters came to be is a very good way to begin the adventure.  Undoubtedly, there will be those kids that will question the existence of fruits and veggies with human characteristics.  The Story of Applenook allows even those kids a way to suspend belief and enjoy the fantasy.  This is one new children’s series that will entertain children every time.

The Lemonman: A Picnic, a Toad and Swampwater Road

Author:  Natasha Ferrill
Illustrator:  Jose Pou
Publisher:  Natasha Ferrill
Publication Date:  2011
Number of Pages:   30
ISBN:  978-0-9869-4640-0



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