The Great Cookie War

Second Story. Apr. 2021. 160p. pap. $10.95. ISBN 9781772601732.
Gr 4-6–A family cookie recipe becomes the focus of a legal battle in this story of a Canadian Mennonite girl and her family. Twelve-year-old Beth wonders what it would be like to live in the world outside her community and dreams of being an artist one day. Beth’s grandmother disapproves of her drawings, saying they are not useful or practical and that the Mennonite are modest people, but Beth doesn’t want the same life her family has. The outside world is soon on the family’s doorstep when a dear, non-Mennonite friend and cookbook author, Edna Staebler, brings a corporate lawyer to meet Beth’s grandmother. Paula, the lawyer, works for a cookie company that is being sued over a recipe—which was first recorded generations ago in Beth’s family’s recipe book. Grandmama wants nothing to do with Paula or the lawsuit. Learning of Beth’s artistic dreams, Paula attempts to get Beth on her side, and maybe even the recipe book in her hands, with the promise of art lessons. Beth finds herself torn between her desires, her family beliefs, and her conscience. Stellings gives readers a glimpse at life in a Mennonite community, but is not Mennonite herself. While the cookie war did happen and did involve a Mennonite family, an author’s note discloses that Stellings’s relationship is with Edna Staebler. Beth is a character many tweens will relate to as she wrestles with who she is inside and where she wants her life to take her. All characters are white.
VERDICT An additional purchase for collections where gentle reads are popular.

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