Lemonade Code

Oni. Jan. 2021. 160p. pap. $14.99. ISBN 9781620108680.
Gr 4-7–Preteen Robert, an aspiring mad scientist following in the footsteps of his mother, Doctor Mama, creates a high-tech lemonade stand that can deliver any flavor imaginable, but new neighbor Daphne serves Robert a dose of humble pie when her old-fashioned lemonade stand outperforms his. To help his struggling family and fund his mad science, Robert turns to increasingly desperate measures to take down the competition. When one of his plans results in an unstoppable swarm of nanobots threatening to take over the world, Robert, Daphne, and Doctor Mama save the day by using coding, music, and friendship to banish the nanobots to the Lemorphonadia dimension. The bright, cartoony art will appeal to younger readers but is visually detailed enough not to alienate older ones. Robert’s dog, Researcher, and Daphne’s cat, Dee Dee, provide some background slapstick comedy. Daphne is Asian, Robert’s mother and numerous other characters are Black, and Robert is portrayed as biracial (speaking some Spanish words and having a Black mother). Outside of some minor intra-kid violence, this is wholesome, family-friendly fare, on par with Archie comics.
VERDICT A delightful addition to middle grade collections, this could introduce new readers to comics. For existing readers of comics like Captain Underpants, this can serve as a gateway comic to weirder fare.

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