How did 11-year-old Emma come to run a global lemonade stand enterprise from her backyard? This humorous adventure, written and created by David Matthew Feldman and Louise A. Gikow, and performed by an extensive voice cast, is deftly grounded in lessons in money management and investing. Emma relates how she went from one front-yard lemonade stand to an international franchise conglomerate with the help of her math-savvy younger brother, Polonious (and a circus elephant, a parrot, and a secret lemonade recipe). Told in flashbacks over 10 episodes, and framed as an interview with a reporter, Emma’s story begins when she buys an ugly duckling and discovers the existence of a Home for Ugly Ducklings. This benevolent rescue operation needs funds to keep going and Emma is determined to raise money to help by modifying her eccentric, elderly neighbor’s purple lemonade recipe, enlisting Polonious as her business manager, hiring a circus elephant to squash the lemons (with clean feet), and her neighbor’s parrot to provide vocal advertising. With help from Polonious and other characters (and told in simple but clear language), Emma and listeners learn the basics of spending and saving, supply and demand, expenses and profit margins, loans and collateral, and investment strategies. Emma’s first lesson: she misses out on buying the first duck of her choice due to impulse buys (ice cream, movie tickets, etc.) After building her lemonade stand, Emma must budget for the ingredients and for her employees (the parrot is paid in birdseed for his promotional services; the circus elephant is paid in peanuts). Emma survives a competitor (a well-funded mean kid), and learns about overspending, how banks make loans, the consequences of unread contracts, and the concept of franchises. As her enterprise takes off (thanks to strategic planning, an excellent product, and some luck), the caring relationship between the siblings is noteworthy; so are the comical touches that make the lessons go down easy.
Lynne Heffley ©2020 Parents’ Choice
A freelance writer and editor for the arts and non-profit organizations, Lynne is a former staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, where she established the paper’s first weekly children’s arts and entertainment beat.