Author: Melissa Arnold
One can barely travel half a block on Long Island without seeing a bag of Tate’s Bake Shop cookies, but that’s not bad. The ubiquitous green bags are a sure sign of impending good fortune.
Tate’s Bake Shop founder Kathleen King opened her first bakery when she was just 21 years old. However, the dream began long before that. Young Kathleen had been baking her signature thin and crispy cookies since she was 11, selling them at her father Tate’s East End farm and using the profits to buy new school clothes each year. Today, the multi-million dollar store has made Tate’s a national favourite.
This summer, King published a children’s picture book titled Cookie Queen: How One Girl Started Tate’s Bake Shop (Random House) co-written with Lowey Bundy Sichol and illustrated by Ramona Kaulitzki. It’s King’s first children’s book – she also has two pastry cookbooks.
Cookie Queen is an autobiographical reflection on Tate’s humble beginnings in a simple home kitchen. Young Kathleen is tired of the puffy, gooey cookies she sees everywhere—what she really wants is a thin, crunchy cookie, but King’s trial-and-error process shows young readers that getting there isn’t always quick or easy. Kathleen is making batches and batches of cookies she doesn’t like, experimenting and trying to find the perfect recipe.
These important lessons of patience, hard work and following your dreams are accompanied by beautiful illustrations by Kaulitzki. It captures the sprawling farm, Kathleen’s house, and the family market with polished, detailed scenes. Young children will enjoy pointing out the farm animals, pet cat, tractor and other thoughtful accessories.
At the end of the book, older readers can learn about the real Tate’s Bake Shop with an easy-to-digest, one-page history. Perhaps the best inclusion is Kathleen and Tate’s personal recipe for Molasses Cookies that you can make at home. Who knows, maybe a young reader in your life will discover their own love of baking.
My goddaughters, ages 4 and 2, were huge fans of the book when I read it to them. No wonder – after all, what kid doesn’t love a book about cookies? However, the vocabulary and overall message would be better understood by elementary school readers.
Age aside, this book is best enjoyed as a family, followed immediately by time spent together in the kitchen, especially with the dessert-filled holidays approaching. To order, visit amazon.com, bn.com or your favorite online retailer.