Monday, May 7, 2018

"Catalina and the King's Wall" by Patty Costello

Catalina and the King's Wall
by Patty Costello

Catalina and the King's Wall by Patty Costello

Catalina and the King's Wall by Patty Costello is currently on tour with BeachBoundBooks. The tour stops here today for an interview with the author, an excerpt, my review, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

One day Catalina overhears the king planning to build a wall and fears her family will never be able to visit. Catalina tricks the king into building walls that droop, drip, swirl, and swoosh away. But now the king demands a wall that will outlast even a Twinkie. Luckily, Catalina has the perfect ingredients to bake up a family reunion!

Book Video


Praise for the Book
“When a foolish king decides to build a wall to keep people from a neighboring kingdom away, his royal baker dreams up a delicious solution. Catalina is a lighthearted parody full of colorful confections. Innovative artwork in a riot of watercolor shades depicts the crafty baker as she whips up gobs of dough, gallons of icing, and miles of rainbow sprinkles, outsmarting the king just in time for a visit from her family one kingdom over.” ~ Foreword Reviews
“Catalina is a talented baker in the story, so in the spirit of this theme, the book s illustrations are the icing on the cake. The pictures on each page are as colorful as the characters personalities are, with very little white space existing in the pen and watercolor illustrations. The thoughtfulness of details in the setting on each page (e.g., the ornate frame of the king's mirror) is incredibly eye-catching. Best of all, Catalina s baked goods made from her love and hard work are beautifully depicted on each and every page. I highly recommend this book for all progressive parents.” ~ Tonia Bock, PhD in Developmental and Educational Psychology Professor of Psychology, University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota
“Delicious, edible looking illustrations with sly images of little Russian nesting dolls decorate the pages of this modern fable of Catalina and the King's Wall, a homily warning against greed and separatism that speaks to today's children and adults as well.” ~ The Midwest Book Review
“Great conversation starter for families about why someone would want to keep two communities apart and how brave Catalina was for standing up for what she believed in.” ~ Carrie
“A lovely book that is whimsical, poignant and relevant. It's wonderfully written and beautifully illustrated. Children will love it and it provides an opportunity to open a dialogue to how it relates to whats happening in the real world.” ~ Mark Hubert

My Review
I received this book in return for an honest review.

By Lynda Dickson
The king wants to build a wall between his kingdom and the neighboring kingdom where Catalina’s family lives. Fearing she will never see them again, Catalina comes up with a plan to thwart the king’s plan.
The text flows beautifully and is full of humorous puns, alliteration, and onomatopoeia, while the accompanying watercolor illustrations by Diane Cojocaru are simply gorgeous. On the surface, this is a simple picture book, but it contains commentary on the current political climate. With these varying elements, this story is sure to appeal to children and adults alike.

Interview With the Author
Author Patty Costello joins us today to talk about her new children’s book, Catalina and the King's Wall.
Please tell us about yourself, Patty.
I live in Boise, Idaho, with my husband, a toddler, a dog named Pippa, and a dog named Spencer. I have a BA in Psychology from the University of St. Thomas and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Minnesota. I was born and raised in the Twin Cities, Minnesota, and still consider myself to be a Minnesotan (you betcha!) I currently work in higher education and have had my research on attention and implicit processing published in journals such as Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Consciousness and Cognition, and Psychological Science. My background in neuroscience and psychology helped me to write my first picture book. It is designed to be a teaching tool for progressive parents to discuss current events with their young children.
I am an active member of Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and my local Idaho-Utah chapter of SCBWI. I am currently in my first 12 x 12, a supportive community for picture book writers, encouraging us to write a new picture book a month. I recently was offered representation by a New York Agency and my book is currently out “on submission.”
What inspired this book?
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. 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. 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.
I am excited that the book has successfully garnered a lot of attention and pre-orders before the launch date of May 5th. I ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to raise PR funds and also funds for local refugee organizations.
Tell us about your main character.
I really loved how Catalina turned out. Catalina is a talented young baker, away from home, happily baking for the king. However, she learns that the king wants to build a wall to keep anyone who is “different” out. She realizes that her family, due to visit her soon, won’t be able to visit after all if a wall is built. She is too busy baking to take time off to go visit them. Catalina is determined to come up with a plan to stop the king from building his wall. She is persistent, never giving up on her dream of seeing her family. She speaks in baking puns and is always very positive. When she is trying to come up with her next idea, she says to herself “Oh, for goodness bakes!” and when the king demands more and more of her cookies, even when yelling that he does not like them, she thinks to herself “he really frosts my cookies!”
What do you think readers will find most appealing about your book?
I think parents will appreciate the underlying message and will find the subtle political spoofs – both in the text and the illustrations - amusing. I think kids will like it because it talks about cookies, cake, and frosting! They will like Catalina’s silly way of talking in baking puns and how persistent she is in standing up for what she believes in. She is the true underdog to root for, and kids will be rooting for her the entire story.
Tell us about your illustrations.
I really lucked out with my illustrator Diana Cojucaru! I found her through an online forum of international artists. I immediately fell in love with her whimsical watercolor. Diana had done children’s books before, but my project was her first project for a book that would not be self-published. Even though she lives in Romania, half a world away, we developed a wonderful rapport and communicated often. We discovered that we both had toddler boys – our first-born children; we dedicated the book to our sons and she told me that I was the first author that had asked her whom she wanted the book dedicated to.
I was the art director – I had to give her a general idea of what I was looking for on each page and she created the rest. Her vision is what you see - amazingly rich and detailed paintings created with care, flair, and pure imagination. I did not give her any of the political backdrop information as I thought that might detract from her creative endeavors. I also figured that Romanians probably just aren’t that interested in US politics anyway! We continue to stay in touch and I would love the opportunity to work with her again. I can’t tell you how many people ooh and ahh when they open my book and see these remarkable paintings. I smile and say the only thing I can take credit for is finding and hiring her! Small presses, with their smaller staff and resources, tend to rely on the authors to find their own illustrators (unless you are an author-illustrator and don’t have to worry about that at all!).
Thanks for stopping by today, Patty. I hope you enjoy the rest of your tour!

About the Author
Patty Costello
Patty Costello lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband, a crazy awesome toddler, a dog named Pippa, and a dog named Spencer. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of St Thomas and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Minnesota. She currently works in higher education. Catalina and the King’s Wall is her first book. At all hours of the day (and night) she can be found standing at her desk, helping her university run smoothly and working on her next story.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash.