Recommended for readers 5-8
Who says cookies don’t solve problems? In a fairy tale that speaks to present-day events, a king decides he doesn’t like the people in a neighboring kingdom and plans to build a wall that will keep them out. Catalina, the king’s baker, has family in the neighboring kingdom and is upset by the news, but she’s got a plan. The king loves her delicious snacks, so she encourages him to build a wall using ingredients like icing, sprinkles, and cookie dough. The first two wash away, but that cookie dough holds fast – until the king finds it irresistible, and eats his way through the whole wall! Catalina cheerfully reunites with her family, and the king never bothers anyone ever again.
Catalina was fully funded through a Kickstarter earlier this year and published earlier this month, and it’s a smart, tongue-in-cheek fairy tale that makes explaining what kids are seeing on the news a little easier to understand. At once parody and social commentary, adults will get subtle winks at lines like, “The king’s face turned from orange to red” and at the king’s framed Time magazine photo in his royal chambers (hey… did he really make the cover of Time?). We’ve got a king obsessed with having his will carried out, and a bright heroine who figures out how to work around his myopia. The watercolor artwork is colorful and bright; the king is not orange-skinned, but does wear orange hose and has a suspiciously familiar curl to the back of his blonde hair; Catalina’s mother wears a hijab.
Pair this one with The Emperor’s New Clothes, get some pre-made cookie dough, and build your own edible wall for Summer Reading. Catalina and the King’s Wall is available online and via the author’s website, which also has an events calendar.