Every year I look forward to the new Iowa Children's Choice Award list and the prospect of reading some of the best books out there and talking about them with my students. Sometimes I have read a few of the new list we get in the spring, but I always have a hefty stack to take home over the summer. I have so many books yet to get through before school it is going to be impossible, but I am still plugging away at them and decided to read The Lemonade Wars by Jacqueline Davies, one of the Children's Choice books for 2009-10.
First of all, I can't say I am surprised this book is on the list. There are a lot of teachable moment types of things in this book. Siblings Evan and Jessie normally get along well. However, Jessie is going to be skipping a grade and has been placed in Evan's classroom for the upcoming school year. While Evan doesn't come right out and state his disgust with this plan, he does start to leave Jessie out of some of his plans during the summer vacation. Jessie is smart, but she knows she isn't very good at relationships. What she intends to say and what actually come out her mouth aren't the same thing. The two end up battling things out through competing lemonade stands. The winner takes all - Evan is planning on buying an iPod with his winnings and Jessie will donate her money to charity. This book is full of good lessons about getting along, working together, and lots of different math problems as both Jessie and Evan try to calcuate how much lemonade one must sell to win their bet.
This story grew on me as I read. I will admit that my initial reaction wasn't excitement - the whole idea that Jessie would skip a grade and be in the exact same section as her brother seems a bit implausible. What school would think this was a good idea? What parent would agree to this? Didn't their mother know how devastating this would be to Evan? Why was she not clued in? Maybe kids wouldn't find this plot unbelievable, but teachers would. For that reason I am surprised that the book made the ICCA list. So far it's not one of my favorites, but as I said the story did grow on me. I am thinking of having my second grade daughter read it to herself and see what her reaction is. If any of you have read Lemonade Wars, please let me know what you think of it.