Fiction | Heritage | Mennonites | Family | Adventure
Loosely based upon an actual 1980’s lawsuit between Nabisco and Proctor and Gamble, The Great Cookie War is the opposite of a friendly competition between local Girl Guide troops to see who can sell the most cookies! When a high-powered New York City lawyer shows up in the small Mennonite farming settlement where Beth Betzner lives with her family, Beth feels like this could be the “something” that will relieve the monotony of life in her traditional religious community. Corporate espionage, battling lawyers and a harrowing rescue provide the backdrop for a moral dilemma where Beth must decide if she is willing to sacrifice her family’s heritage for the opportunity to attend art school.
One of the most appealing aspects of this story was the character of 12-year old Beth. Both driven and curious, Beth sometimes yearns for a life where she can take art classes, pierce her ears and use electricity but feels guilty for hoping for more than what she already has. Throughout the tale, Beth develops a strong appreciation for the self-reliance instilled by her family and community and a sense of pride in her accomplishments. The author does an admirable job of explaining the basic tenets of the Old Order Mennonite faith.
The Great Cookie War would support many facets of the social studies curriculum for primary grades. Readers who relish feisty characters and family-oriented stories would particularly enjoy this novel.
—Robin Ahamedi is a library technician living in Ajax, Ontario.