The lemonade problem by Jennifer Oxley and Billy Aronson
Peg + Cat series. Candlewick, 2017. ISBN 9781536200614
(Age: 3-6) Themes: Problem solving. Girls. Cats. Small business. Mathematics. Peg + Cat is a popular animated cartoon series for pre-schoolers that features a little girl and her indigo cat working on mathematical challenges using their problem-solving skills. Through their series of picture books and television programs, Jennifer Oxley and Ben Anderson's goal is to encourage pre-schoolers' curiosity about maths in their daily lives and creatively solve everyday problems.
In The lemonade problem, Peg and Cat decide to start a small business selling ice-cold lemonade to people passing buy. Instead of coins, the little girl decides that one cup costs ten marbles. Peg always keeps her special marble under her hat. Decorated with balloons and bunting they eagerly wait for their first customer. Can the young reader see what is missing? After the teens arrive on their skate boards, they bargain Peg down on her prices until 1 cup costs two marbles. Unfortunately, Peg forgets the cups and Cat is sent off to trade cookies for them. Their friend Viv even draws a bar graph to help Cat understand the maths problem. More exciting exchanging occurs as Cat's focus becomes diverted with dancing and red peppers. Of course, just as Cat arrives to save the day, the weather changes and no-one wants their cold drinks. As the story line twists and turns, Peg and Cat use their problem solving skills to work on a better solution, manage their business and then all is right in their world.
Oxley and Aronson's characters are sketched with pencil on paper first with simple shapes and lines drawn on a bright patchwork town that stands out from the graph paper backgrounds. Mathematical symbols, signs and shapes add interest, as the concepts of comparing numbers and reading bar graphs are revealed intrinsically. The Peg +Cat series have a 'transmedia approach' just right for the preschool audience, with enjoyable books, animated cartoons and an interactive games website.