Student Activities for The Treasure of Lemon Brown Include:
"The Treasure of Lemon Brown" by Walter Dean Myers is a story about Greg Ridley, who starts off having a bad day. Doing poorly at school, he is positive his dad is going to tell him he can’t play basketball for the team with whom he’s been dreaming of playing. Two nights after Mr. Ridley banishes Greg to his room to study, Greg decides to leave the house and just get away. He goes to an abandoned warehouse, where he meets Lemon Brown. Through his interactions with Lemon, Greg begins to reflect on his life.
The Treasure of Lemon Brown Summary
Greg Ridley is failing math. His principal sends home a letter to his dad saying that he’s in danger of failing. Greg’s dad gives him a lecture and tells him he is crazy if he thinks he’s going to play basketball with grades like that. He sends Greg to his room to “hit the books.” Greg is devastated because playing for the Scorpions Community Center team is very important to him.
Sitting in his room, listening to a storm in the distance, Greg starts thinking about a pickup game he’d seen a while back in an abandoned warehouse. He decides to go there in the hopes of getting into a game. When he gets to the warehouse, he enters and looks around. It is dark with only the light from a few passing cars. Greg is aware of something in the room with him, and is scared. Suddenly Lemon Brown speaks up, saying he doesn’t have anything for him, and that he has a razor that could cut him up. They wind up talking for a while. Greg wants to know about Lemon’s supposed treasure. Lemon doesn’t have time to explain to him.
A group of thugs come in and toss the room, looking for Lemon and his “treasure.” Lemon and Greg quietly run from room to room, hiding. Suddenly, as they are trapped in an upstairs room, Greg howls like a wolf. Lemon throws himself at the attackers at the top of the stairs, and they all tumble down the stairs. Only Lemon returns, though he is bumped and bruised.
Greg and Mr. Brown begin talking. Lemon tells Greg of his past accomplishments as “Sweet Lemon Brown - Blues Singer and Harmonica Player.” He’d been quite famous. He had also had a wife and son, but when his wife died, his sister-in-law took the boy in. Lemon didn’t really see much of him after that. His playing wasn’t as good, once he lost his reason for playing.
Then he found out that his son had gone off to war and died. When they found his body, he was carrying his dad’s old “mouth fiddle and these clippings” of when Lemon had played. That had been his son’s treasure, and when Lemon got them back and realized that his son loved him enough to carry them everywhere he went, the clippings became his treasure. Lemon also says that every man has a treasure. With the thugs chased off, and Lemon’s story told, the rain ends and Lemon tells Greg he ought to be on his way home. Greg agrees and walks home. When he reaches his stoop, he thinks about the lecture his dad is going to give him. Somehow, it makes him smile. He has learned something important from Lemon. He has a new appreciation for his dad, and all his dad does for him.
Essential Questions for "The Treasure of Lemon Brown"
- What is really important to you?
- What is treasure? Does it always have to be valuable?
- Which are more important: items with sentimental value or items with monetary value?
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In Walter Dean Myer’s story The Treasure of Lemon Brown a teenager named Greg meets Lemon Brown and shows him a lesson about what is truly valuable in life. The theme of this story is “Everyman has a treasure” (Pg. 475). When Greg finds out about Lemon Brown’s treasure he automatically thinks of something value in money not something emotionally value. But Lemon Brown teaches him that everyone has some kind of treasure and that it doesn’t have to have money value.
The story begins with Greg leaving his house from having an argument with his father about how his grades aren’t great. Greg was running away from his problems. Greg walks around when it starts raining and goes into an old abandoned testament. Greg meets a homeless, retired old blues singer named Lemon Brown. Lemon Brown lived in the testament. Lemon brown heard Greg coming in and thinks Greg came to steal him treasure. Lemon Brown frightening Greg “Don’t try nothin’ cause I got a razor here sharp enough to cut a week into nine days!”(Pg. 477). Lemon Brown is very protecting of a treasure that has no money value which he truly cares about.
Brown then learns Greg isn’t trying to steal nothing. (Pg.478) Lemon Brown asks, “You ain’t one of them bad boys looking for my treasure is you?” Greg replies, “I’m not looking for your treasure…if you even have one.” Greg answered sarcastically wondering if Brown even had a treasure worth more than where he lived. Lemon responds, “What do you mean if I have one?” Greg says you have gold coins? Automatically thinks of a money value treasure. Lemon Brown teaches him, “Everyman has a treasure”.
Moments later there was a noise downstairs. Outside the window were people coming looking for Lemon Brown’s treasure. The bad people thought Brown’s treasure had lots of money value. (Pg.480) “You got any money,” bad people asked Brown. Automatically thinking of money and not sentimental value. Lemon Brown solved the problem by falling down the stairs on top of the burglars and saved Greg and his valuable treasure
Lemon Brown then got up and had only minor injuries. Greg asked again if he actually had a treasure. He still didn’t believe Lemon Brown. Lemon Brown then asked Greg if he wanted to see his treasure. Lemon Brown then reveled his rags which were old newspaper clippings and harmonica. Lemon Brown would be busy singing the blues and came home one day to find out that his son was killed in war. Then they sent what he kept with him over there. He kept my harmonica and newspaper clippings. “Him carrying it around with like that told me it meant something to him, “told Lemon Brown. That’s my treasure.
Lemon Brown taught Greg a valuable lesson and went home to talk to his dad. Greg learns from Lemon Brown what a true treasure is. A true treasure doesn’t need a money value. Greg learned he was his dad’s treasure and that’s why his dad was so concerned of him. Greg finally understood Lemon Brown and his dad.