“Catalina and the King’s Wall” by Patty Costello was most certainly not what I expected for a children’s book. Without reading the premise and only knowing the title, I was a little surprised that in 2018 we were featuring Kings and not Queens. When starting the story and getting into the premise, I found myself angry. A King is barking orders to a young girl to bake him cookies and more cookies and more cookies and she’s doing it for him over and over again. We know the King likes cookies but he also doesn’t like anyone that is different than him. Midway through, it was clear that this King, a tyrant, was a representation of our current president. This little girl Catalina, was a representation of today’s dominating force of females. She wasn’t baking for him. She was baking against him and for the people. Everytime he demanded a barricade wall she came up with ways to trick him. She was baking a cookie wall around the kingdom knowing that it wouldn’t last. “That’s the way the cookie crumbles!”
I’m not sure this book will get the message across to young girls without explaining the current climate and why it was written. However, if you are looking for something to open the dialogue between you and your child, this is an excellent way to explore the conversation.
Patty Costello wrote this book after taking her young son to the Women’s March. She says:
I would love for all kids to hear the story of a persistent cookie baker named Catalina and how she never gave up on seeing her family again. Because kids should know that everyone is important. Kids should know how to champion diversity and equality. Kids should know that anyone can be a heroine. Above all, kids should know that we can all be a part of making our world better for everyone in it.
With illustrations by Diane Cojacaru here is a trailer for “Catalina and the King’s Wall”: