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Deborah Tindall has three children - Ruby, Tizz and Sam and she loves them to bits. It's just that she's a little bit fragile mentally and not what you would call a responsible parent. The last time that she went off and left the three girls to fend for themselves they were taken into care and it was months before the authorities felt that it was safe to let the girls go home. So when the girls wake up one morning and find that their mother isn't there they're determined that no one will realise. The have to keep going as normal: their mother was away for ten days last time so how will they manage?

Lemonade Sky by Jean Ure

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A great story for the older tween girl which looks at the effect of mental illness on the children in a family and at the cost keeping everyone fed. It's not just educational - it's a very good read.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 240 Date: June 2012
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0007431649

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The message their mother left on the answering machine gave no clues as to where she was or when she would return. There was just a mysterious reference to 'lemonade sky' and certainly no information about how they would feed themselves. And that was the first problem the girls faced. Ruby was the one in charge - well as 'in charge' as a twelve year old can be when she's 'in charge' of a rather mutinous ten year old and Sam, who is as illogical and self-absorbed as most girls whose sixth birthday is only a few days away.

Food is their most pressing problem and Jean Ure does some very subtle teaching here. It comes as a shock to the the girls when they realise how little food there is at home, but they're buoyed up when they collect all the money they can find and it seems like a fortune. Reality hits them in the face when they discover that shopping for food isn't just a case of buying the things you like - the chocolate biscuits and fish fingers - but a difficult balancing act of making the money you have stretch far enough to stop everyone feeling hungry.

There's a lovely depiction of the relationships between the three girls - the frictions and the support they give each other. You really root for Ruby. She's a determined little trier with far too much on her young shoulders and you can understand how she feels when she resorts to stealing just to get some more food for the family. There's an understanding and sympathetic look at mental illness too; it happens and has to be dealt with, but it's not a biggy.

I liked too the fact that there is adult intervention - eventually - and that grown ups are not always the enemy. Her Upstairs (no explanation needed, I think!) is a bit controlling but people do emerge (sorry - I'm not going to tell you!) who help the girls and there's a satisfying ending even if all the threads are not neatly tied off - but then that's life.

I'd like to thank Jean Ure for sending a copy to Bookbag.

If this book appeals then we think that you might also enjoy Pea's Book of Best Friends by Susie Day and A Dog Called Homeless by Sarah Lean.

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Buy Lemonade Sky by Jean Ure at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Lemonade Sky by Jean Ure at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Lemonade Sky by Jean Ure at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Lemonade Sky by Jean Ure at


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