I thoroughly enjoyed GARLIC BREAD FOR EUGENE in which a
boy was determined to make special garlic bread for his
little brother just the way their Dad always did. Michael
Heath has followed up his tale with another story called
LEMONADE FOR EUGENE.
Henry has to grow up fast, since his Dad has died and his
Mom needs to work. It's up to him to be responsible for his
brother Eugene on summer break. Chatting to the
neighbouring kids at a lemonade stand, the boys hear from
Alice that a shoreline house is soon to be bought and
redeveloped. The owner, Mr Hutchinson, lives there with his
young son Karl but they can't afford to pay bills and the
sheriff will take away the house. Henry thinks this man is
having a lot of troubles. And if houses are built, the
wildlife will have no homes, and the traveling carnivals
won't be able to store equipment there for winter. But
there is nothing kids can do.
Other people in town are having difficulties. Butchie, the
school janitor we met previously, has finally found a lady
to take out for an evening's stroll at the fairground. His
heart condition is getting worse, though, and even this big
heart can let someone down.
Through excitement like carnival rides and crab-fishing,
the boys meet people, explore the area and learn more about
the building plans which will spoil their fun. I enjoyed
every page and I believe growing readers will love the
blend of excitement and seriousness, the sense of place and
depth of characters. We've also got to admire the
businesslike Alice, who makes good money by selling home-
made iced lemonade every day. We can especially enjoy the
way that she sometimes gives friends a glass for free.
Most books for young readers do not explore serious adult
problems, like foreclosure or heart conditions. So many
young people will be familiar with the concepts, that I
applaud the work of Michael Heath. By sending his reliable,
insightful hero Henry to talk to the townsfolk young and
old, we see the core of the community and realise that a
locality is built upon its people. Even a seventh-grader
has an opinion worth listening to, and Henry and Eugene
hold strong opinions. From the start of summer until
Veteran's Day at its end, LEMONADE FOR EUGENE will keep you
In the sequel to Garlic Bread for Eugene, Henry and Eugene learn at Alice's
lemonade stand that the Hutchinsons' house and land is in bank foreclosure.
The news is so distressing that Eugene solicits his older brother to do
something. Is a seventh grader able to stop the sheriff from auctioning off the
property? Will Butchie, the school janitor, join the cause after his life takes an
unexpected turn during a date with Gail Paisley?