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Liam Takes a Stand

by Josh Holinaty (ill.); Troy Wilson

Lister and Lester, identical twins and determined competitors, open up rival lemonade stands. The twins’ younger brother, Liam, just wants to hang out and have fun with them, but his offers of free labour are turned down flat. This bitter rejection spurs Liam to advance his own entrepreneurial career and he soon makes a name for himself as a hardworking neighbourhood helper, with satisfied customers paying him in cash and bushels of apples.

51+cfR7Q8BL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Relentlessly pursuing more and more customers, Lister and Lester employ sneaky guerrilla tactics, like advertising a “NEW AND IMPROVED” recipe (which involves merely adding bigger ice cubes), and boasting the dubious claim that lemonade makes you run faster – maybe true if 50 glasses are guzzled and the bathroom is the destination.

Josh Holinaty’s eye-poppingly bold and bright cartoonish illustrations capture the madcap, capitalistic frenzy. Along with pitchers of lemonade, the stands include flashy billboards, music blaring from a tower of speakers, and dancing lemon mascots.

Liam develops his own business strategy that involves saving his money and building up an apple inventory. When foot, bike, car, and even thirsty camel traffic reaches its peak, the savvy child springs into action and launches “Liam’s Apple Avenue.” His venture offers an artisanal product, down-to-earth ambiance, and a fresh alternative to the lemon-saturated sidewalk marketplace. After declaring bankruptcy, the twins come crawling back to the office of the new juice mogul. The three brothers close a mutually beneficial family deal by promising to mix business with pleasure, and spend quality play time together.

Victoria, B.C., writer Troy Wilson’s lively plot lampoons the cutthroat business world with sly digs at overzealous marketing campaigns and the costs to relationships in the battle for the almighty bottom line. The simply stated, repetitive, low-key text is the perfect foil for the over-the-top, action-packed illustrations. Offering solid lessons in commerce and sibling cooperation, along with satisfying shots of humour, Liam Takes a Stand is a winning read-aloud choice.