Cooler Than Lemonade by Harshita Jerath and Chloe Burgett

Happy, happy Friday! I'm grateful Harshita Jerath stopped by to finish my sentences. We discussed Cooler Than Lemonade, Chole Burgett's illustrations, Eva, story, and more. I wrote the words in purple, and Harshita wrote the words in black. Thank you, Harshita! 

Cooler Than Lemonade tells the story of a young girl, Eva, who is always full of creative ideas, and one hot summer day, she gets an idea to open a lemonade stand. Her lemonade stand thrives until she encounters a friendly competition from Jake across the street.

Eva keeps coming up with new ideas to make her lemonade stand standout, but Jake has good ideas too. Eventually, Eva runs out of fresh ideas and decides to wrap up her lemonade stand. She’s miserable without any fresh ideas until she discovers that one of the coolest ideas— opening a Kulfi* stand—was always with her. She just had to think outside the box.

This story is about generating ideas, being willing to experiment, embracing failure, and getting back up again after getting knocked down. There’s also a layer of sibling connection weaved into the pages.

(*Kulfi is an Indian ice cream)

Chloe Burgett’s illustrations are stunning. She’s done an exceptional job of capturing Eva’s fun spirit and personality. The colors she’s used are glorious, and each page has so much movement that the young readers would be delightfully charmed and would request to read the book again.

I’m especially in love with the pages showing the back and forth between Eva and Jake’s lemonade stand. Chloe has poured her imagination and they’ve come out wonderful.

Eva is a free-spirited girl. And she has a cool idea-generating system that feeds her creativity. When Eva runs out of ideas, she meditates, doodles, brainstorms, and then new ideas appear in her idea bucket. But when she encounters competition from Jake, her perfectly functioning system stops generating more ideas and she hits rock bottom. Her little brother, Aru, who knows that his sister thrives when she’s creating, gently nudges his sister to make him his favorite ice cream Kulfi. As Eva returns to creating, she finds a most wonderful idea in her idea bucket making her realize that not trying again is the only set back.

Story is inspired by my younger son, who keeps coming up with creative ideas.

One summer day, he wanted to open a Kulfi stand at the farmer’s market. While discussing the logistics of opening the Kulfi stand, this story idea took seed.

So my draft of Cooler Than Lemonade was set in a farmer’s market, and the story was about Eva’s journey of opening a stand. As I revised, the story evolved organically into becoming more about creative thinking and persistence. The recipe of Kulfi in the back matter stayed.

John Schu, you should have asked me the thought behind choosing the refrain SNAP SIZZLE SPROUTS, the phrase that repeats whenever Eva has a new idea.

You’ll experience that an idea appears really fast, in a SNAP. As we nurture the idea and give it more color, that’s when the idea SIZZLES with possibilities (or sometimes ideas FIZZLE) and when an idea is fully formed, it is ready to SPROUT into this world. Without action, the idea stays inside the head and stales.

I wanted to convey this process from idea generation to action, so when I finally got ‘SNAP SIZZLE SPROUT’ together, it was a jackpot moment!

Thank you, Harshita! 

HARSHITA JERATH is the author of the recent picture book The Leaping Laddoo. She was born and raised in India, where she spent much of her childhood scribbling in her journal. She now lives in Scottsdale, Arizona.

CHLOE BURGETT is a children's book illustrator living in Lincoln, Nebraska with her husband and their orange cat, Pencil. Her favorite books respectfully portray children as the competent, brave, and resourceful human beings they are.

Look for Cooler Than Lemonade on March 7, 2023. 


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