The Battle of the Snow Cones/La guerra de las raspas

Gr 1—3—The residents of Caliente, TX, can't stay cool in the sweltering summer heat even when drinking lemonade by the gallon and pouring buckets of water over their heads. Elena, who is joined by her mother on the front porch, comes up with a fun, profitable idea to deal with the situation—selling raspas, or snow cones. Before long, her successful business gets the attention of her best friend, Alma, who sets up a stand of her own. The girls compete, or "battle," to be the best on the block by employing new strategies and adding touches such as Mexican paper flowers or syrup flavors like coconut or mango, and entertainment like puppet shows or folkloric dances. In the midst of all the competitiveness, the girls' snow-cone machines malfunction and they realize how much their friendship matters. Gambino's vibrant acrylic artwork shows neighborhood scenes and captures the bold colors of the snow-cone syrups and the girls' stands. Learning that true friendship can be more important than success is an elemental concept for young children to understand.—Rhonda Jeffers, Coweta Public Library System, Newnan, GA

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