Books with Beauchanes: Chapter 7

Hannah is six years old; her brother Jack is four. Their skin is already a healthy tan from enjoying their summer days at the pool or at camp. However, that doesn’t mean they won’t take time out of their adventurous days to enjoy a good book.

Catalina and the King’s Wall is a short but sweet tale of Catalina, who is in charge of baking sweets for the king. Since she is always there baking for him, she does not get to visit the kingdom that her family lives in. Just when they are about to visit Catalina, the king announces that he does not like the people of that kingdom and intends to build a wall to keep them out.

Catalina decides to take matters into her own hands and gives the king different ideas of how he should have his men build the wall. From icing to sprinkles to cookie dough, her baking expertise is put to use as she convinces them to build a wall with less than ideal materials.

While the story, written by Patty Costello, is a clear reference to the political turmoil the United States is facing, Hannah and Jack see it more as a difference between right and wrong.

“Why doesn’t he like them?” Hannah asked. “Does he even know them?”

Hannah caught on quickly that the king’s decision to build a wall was impractical. When it got to the part about building the wall with icing, her and Jack knew immediately that the wall would not be permanent and that Catalina was doing it on purpose.

“I was inspired to write this book after I took my son to my local women’s march in January 2017 following the combative U.S. presidential election,” Costello said on her Kickstarter page. “I stood with him on that cold and snowy day and wondered: What kind of world was he born into? How will he learn to always be kind? I was deeply concerned, yet hopeful because of the turnout at the march. I wrote my book to help parents discuss these questions with their kids in a fun story format that children can relate to.”

In between the hard topics are sweet baking puns that had Hannah and Jack giggling. ‘For goodness bakes’ and ‘frosts my cookies’ are just some of the wordplay sprinkled throughout the book. It added an extra element not just to the story but to the detailed illustrations by Diane Cojocaru.

Hannah and Jack ultimately find a way to enjoy most books that come their way, but Catalina and the King’s Wall left them wanting to read more. And enjoy a cookie or two.