A stubborn lemon realizes the world beyond his tree is worth exploring.
High in the boughs of the mother lemon tree, the tiny lemon children joyfully bounce and giggle, talk and sing, looking forward to turning yellow. But not Tony, a “pretty miserable lemon” who prefers to stay in the shade, hoping to retain his lime-green complexion. The target of his siblings’ constant rhyming taunts, Tony continues to sour. Soon all the other lemons are bright yellow and ripe, and Tony is abandoned as they jump from the tree into the world. Stubborn and lonely, Tony is visited by several wild animals who help him gain the courage to take a leap of faith, but is it too late? Translated from the German, Brönner’s third-person narrative is lively and descriptive. The story’s message is conveyed with a light comedic tone that deftly avoids veering into the pedantic. Dialogue, presented in hand-lettered, underlined text placed near the speaker, provides much of the sophisticated humor. The painterly illustrations employ a vibrant color palette, reminiscent of Brian Wildsmith’s style. The lemons, including Tony, have personality to spare, with spindly limbs, tiny eyes, full sets of teeth, and extremely long noses. Although the ending feels slightly too quiet after the book’s dramatic buildup, late bloomers will relate to Tony’s feelings.
A humorous tale that encourages stepping out into the unknown, even if it’s scary (Picture book. 4-8)