Book Review: Catalina and the King’s Wall, Patty Costello

Catalina and the King’s Wall
Author: Patty Costello
Illustrator: Diane Cojocaru
Publisher: Eifrig Publishing
Ages: 4-10
Genre: Picture Book

Catalina is the king’s trusty baker. She discovers she will be separated from her family forever when the king decides to build a wall to keep their neighboring kingdom away. So, in Catalina and the King’s Wall, Catalina cooks up a plan and convinces the king to build the wall out of icing (it washes away), then sprinkles (they swirl into the wind), then cookie dough (which works a bit too well). A quirky twist has Catalina using the king’s sweet tooth to her advantage as she tries to reunite with her family.

Catalina’s sweet, baking, stirring voice adds levity to this tasty tale (the king really “frosts her cookies” and she exclaims “oh, for goodness bakes!”). Vibrant watercolor illustrations pack in color deliciously and fill the page with gooey frosting, flying sprinkles, and chunky cookie dough. A tiny mouse tucks himself into each picture spread, and little readers will enjoy searching for him throughout the tale as they follow his antics. My favorite illustration shows Catalina in her bakery, surrounded by stacks of drool-inducing cookies, cakes, and macaroons. Sometimes, busy or dark spots of the illustrations get in the way of the text, and it would have been helpful to have more contrast.

The political references in this book will be apparent to adult (and news-savvy kid) readers; though perhaps not always subtle, they are done in a funny, wry way. As a thoughtful method to stir conversation about current events, Catalina and the King’s Wall focuses on deeper themes of inclusion, acceptance, unity, and the importance of families and communities that stand together. Catalina shows us the importance of using the skills (and sprinkles) you have to make the world a kinder place, even if you have to stand up to the king to do it.

The book will be released May 5th, available on major booksellers/the author’s website. If you’re short on book funds and can’t find this tasty tale at your library, remember that most librarians love suggestions of books their readers are wanting.

Oh! Also! I am pleased that author Patty Costello has agreed to do an interview for us here on the blog—so you can look forward to my upcoming post “An Author’s Two Cents” featuring her!

The author’s review coordinator provided me with a PDF review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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