How does a third grader prepare for a chocolate war? What kind of teacher would allow this to happen? All Alex can do is let his imagination run wild, until the day it actually happens. So, each day he goes to school and watches for signs that the Chocolate War is about to begin. He is so tormented by the impending war that he can't sleep and finds it difficult to focus on his school work.
Then one day, something happens that changes his third grade class forever. The Great Chocolate War is on, or is it?
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The Great Chocolate War
By Bekki House
TRAFFORD PUBLISHINGCopyright © 2011 Bekki House
All right reserved.
Chapter OneFor the past three nights, I've been dreaming terribly scary dreams.
Tomorrow I start the third grade. My new teacher is Mrs. Harper. My brother Ben was in Mrs. Harper's class two years ago. Recently, Ben warned me about The Great Chocolate War of the third grade. However, he did not tell me what really happens during this war, so my mind can only imagine.
For the past three nights, when I close my eyes to fall asleep, I see Mrs. Harper and her chocolate-coated classroom. There she stands; she must be about eight feet tall, and she has long, dark brown hair. It's the color of milk chocolate. She wears shiny silver glasses, and the frames are shaped like a Hershey's Kiss. In my dreams, after I see her standing there, I enter the classroom very cautiously. Then right before I wake up screaming, Mrs. Harper smiles at me.
She doesn't have an ordinary smile. Most people have pearly white teeth, but not Mrs. Harper. Her teeth are multicolored and look like M&Ms. Ben told me that one day his friend Dylan looked directly at Mrs. Harper's M&M smile, and he became frozen like a statue. Maybe that's why I wake up screaming. Why would my own brother tell me such a story if it's not true?
One thing I know for sure, I'm not going to school tomorrow. I'll have to fake that I'm sick, but what will my mom believe? I could say I have a bad tummy ache, or maybe poison ivy.
No, she wouldn't believe poison ivy. Maybe I should tell her about Ben's friend Dylan. Maybe she'll understand, but usually parents don't get that sort of thing. They just tell us we are being silly, or there's nothing to be afraid of. Sometimes, I think they forget what it's like to be a kid.
I better not take any chances. I'll tell my mom my stomach hurts. As for tonight, I'll have to stay awake to keep The Great Chocolate War from entering my dreams.
"No, please, don't dip me in chocolate! I promise I'll bring my math homework tomorrow!" I startle awake from another bad dream, and look at my clock. Great, it's six o'clock in the morning! My mom will be in soon to wake me for school. I'll just lie here. There's no way I'm closing my eyes again.
I pull the blankets over my head and very quietly wait for my mom to come in to wake me up.
"Alex, honey, time to get up," Mom whispers into my ear.
Okay, it's show time. I begin to make a faint moaning sound, and curl up in a ball on my bed. Mom asks, "Are you okay, bud?"
I tell her that my tummy hurts really, really bad, and I'm afraid I will have to miss my first day of the third grade.
Why is it that moms always seem to know when we are lying? She smiles a great, big smile at me and asks, "Is there some reason you don't want to go to school?"
Before I know what I'm even saying, I tell her all about Ben's friend Dylan, and beg her not to send me off to fight in some chocolate war that I know nothing about. I'm much too young to go to war. Mom immediately calls Ben into my room. She tells him he has five minutes to tell me what third grade is really like, and if he tries any more funny stuff, he'll spend the first two weeks of school grounded. Mom gives me a great, big hug and says not to worry, that Ben is only teasing me, and she'll deal with him more after school.
"I'm going to start making breakfast. I want you both downstairs in five minutes," Mom says on her way out the door.
As soon as she is out of sight and out of hearing range, Ben punches me in the arm and says I'll be in big trouble if Mrs. Harper finds out I told my mom about The Great Chocolate War. Ben decides he will tell me a little more about the war. He says that the war takes place in all of third grade, but Mrs. Harper and Mrs. Sherman are very serious about it. He adds, "You better be very careful not to let either of them know that you told mom about the war. If they find out, you will be doomed to repeat the third grade for the rest of your life."
With that, Ben leaves my room.
What am I going to do? Mom will never let me stay home. She doesn't believe Ben's story the way I do.
I slowly begin to get ready for school. I decide I will just have to be brave; after all, I am a third grader this year. I'm almost nine years old. If I must go off to fight a war, I should at least go prepared.
I look around my room for anything that might be helpful in a war. Seriously, though, how do you prepare for a chocolate war? Should I pack candy? Should I bring some sort of shield? Maybe a squirt gun? The water may dissolve the chocolate. I don't know!
After a few minutes of searching around my room, I pack a tiny squirt gun and an umbrella that I could use as a shield if I need one.
Once I am ready for whatever is heading my way, I go down for breakfast. Mom has a huge stack of pancakes on the table and is pouring me a glass of orange juice when I walk into the kitchen. I sit down and devour three pancakes, two slices of bacon, a piece of toast, and my glass of orange Juice. I decide it's best to start this day with lots of food. I'll need all the energy I can get if I expect to make it home safely.
We live far away from the school, so I have to ride the bus. I usually don't mind riding the bus, but today I have butterflies in my tummy.
Ben and I wait for the bus along with my little brother Casey. It's Casey's first day of kindergarten. You would think he would be more nervous than I am. He has never ridden the bus or gone to school for a whole day. But there he stands, singing songs and smiling. He has no idea what lies ahead of him. I could tell him, but I think it's better that he finds out on his own.
I stand there thinking about whether or not to fill him in on the horrors of school, and the bus arrives. I walk up the steps and sit in the middle of the bus, alone.
Five stops later, my friend, Logan, gets on the bus. I'm lost in my thoughts and don't even notice him until he sits down next to me.
"Hey, Alex, what are you thinking about," Logan asks.
I try to change the subject, but I had been thinking about what Ben said. Seeing Logan brings a new fear into my head. Logan is going to be in Mrs. Sherman's class, next door to Mrs. Harper's room. This is the first year we will not be together in school, and even worse, we will be with the two teachers who take The Great Chocolate War very seriously. What if we have to fight each other? Logan is my best friend.
I look my best friend in the eyes and very seriously ask him, "Logan, have you heard about The Great Chocolate War?"
If you knew my friend Logan, you would know that he's a nervous sort of kid. He is the kind of kid who won't sleep without a night-light or stay home alone for more than five minutes. I can tell my question scares him. His eyes look real big, and his mouth is hanging open. "What are you talking about," he asks me.
Excerpted from The Great Chocolate War by Bekki House Copyright © 2011 by Bekki House. Excerpted by permission of TRAFFORD PUBLISHING. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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