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Cookie / Jacqueline Wilson ; illustrated by Nick Sharratt.

By: Wilson, Jacqueline.
Contributor(s): Sharratt, Nick [illustrator.].
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: London : Doubleday Children's, 2008Description: 319 p. : illustrations ; 23 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9780552558310.Subject(s): Fathers and daughters -- Juvenile fiction | Runaway children -- Juvenile fiction | Baking -- Juvenile fictionDDC classification: 823.914 Summary: Beauty Cookson is no beauty. She's a plain, timid girl who constantly feels inferior to the super-confident, snooty girls at school. Worse than the teasing in the playground, though, is the unpredictable, hurtful criticism from her father. Beauty and her meek, sweet mother live in uneasy fear of his fierce rages, sparked whenever they break one of his fussy house rules. Eventually, after an unbearable birthday party and the very real threat of Dad's out-of-control temper, Mum and Beauty run away. Finding themselves in a quiet, idyllic seaside village, their new-found freedom and a moment of culinary inspiration give them a hobby, an income and even a new nickname for Beauty. Can they begin a happier, sweeter life - without Dad?
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

Beauty Cookson is no beauty. She's a plain, timid girl surrounded by super-confident, snooty girls at school. Worse than the teasing in the playground, though, is the unpredictable criticism from her father. Frequently berated for breaking any of Dad's hyper-fussy house rules, as well as for her lack of looks, confidence and friends, Beauty lives in uneasy fear whenever Dad's at home. Her pretty, sweet mum is equally subject to Dad's tirades. Eventually, after an unbearable birthday party and a very real fear that Dad's temper is out of control, Mum and Beauty run away.Very soon Mum and Beauty find themselves in an idyllic seaside resort where their new-found freedom and a moment of culinary inspiration give them a hobby, an income and even a new nickname for Beauty. Soon all Beauty's dreams come true - and she deserves it! A charming, page-turning and heart-warming story from this beloved author.

Beauty Cookson is no beauty. She's a plain, timid girl who constantly feels inferior to the super-confident, snooty girls at school. Worse than the teasing in the playground, though, is the unpredictable, hurtful criticism from her father. Beauty and her meek, sweet mother live in uneasy fear of his fierce rages, sparked whenever they break one of his fussy house rules. Eventually, after an unbearable birthday party and the very real threat of Dad's out-of-control temper, Mum and Beauty run away. Finding themselves in a quiet, idyllic seaside village, their new-found freedom and a moment of culinary inspiration give them a hobby, an income and even a new nickname for Beauty. Can they begin a happier, sweeter life - without Dad?

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Excerpt provided by Syndetics

One I turned on the television. I timed it perfectly. The music was just starting. I saw the cartoon picture of Sam and Lily spinning around, Sam waving, Lily delicately nibbling a carrot. They whirled faster and faster while a voice sang, "Who do you want to see?" Little children piped up: "Sam and Lily in the Rabbit Hutch!" I sang it too, but very quietly, just mouthing the words. There was only Mom at home and she was out in the kitchen. She wouldn't mind a bit if I wanted to watch a baby show like Rabbit Hutch but I still felt embarrassed about it. Imagine if some of the really mean, snooty girls at school, Skye Wortley or Emily Barrington or Arabella Clyde-Smith, came barging through our front door and caught me watching a TV show for five-year-olds. They teased me enough anyway. I could hear them screaming with laughter over Beauty and her little bunny-wunny friend in the Rabbit Hutch. I shut my eyes tight. "Hey there!" said a soft gentle voice from the television. I opened my eyes. There was Sam smiling at me, the real man, not the funny cartoon picture of him. I smiled back at him. I couldn't help it. He had such a lovely funny grin. His brown eyes shone and he ducked his head a little so his soft shiny brown hair flopped across his forehead. "How are you doing?" Sam asked. "I'm fine," I whispered. He nodded and then looked down at Lily. He was holding her close against his chest. He needed both hands because there was a lot of Lily. Her lop ears brushed the collar of Sam's checked shirt, while her back paws dangled past the belt of his jeans. Sam held her firmly so she felt safe. She relaxed against him, slowly blinking her blue eyes. She knew he would never ever drop her. "I wonder what you've been doing today?" said Sam, looking at me. "School," I muttered. "Which one?" Sam asked. "Lady Mary Mountbank. I started there last year," I said, sighing. "Is it that bad?" said Sam sympathetically. I considered. It wasn't all bad. Rhona Marshall had asked me to her birthday party. She'd given my arm a special squeeze as she gave me the pink invitation card and said, "I do hope you can come." I liked Rhona a lot, even though she was best friends with Skye. Rhona never ever joined in the horrible Beauty routine. She just looked embarrassed and raised her eyebrows at me and once she whispered, "Take no notice." This was sweet of her, but how could I help noticing when they were chanting stuff right in my face. Miss Woodhead had been kind to me too. She especially liked my Roman project. I know this sounds as if I'm showing off, but she said I was a joy to teach. She said it quietly just to me and I went bright pink I was so pleased. But one of the others heard her and by break time half the class were muttering it and then making vomit noises. Skye made such loud vomit noises she nearly made herself really sick all down her school skirt. That would have been great. I didn't have time to babble all this to Sam so I just shrugged my shoulders. He'd understand. "Lily likes her school," he said. "But her lessons are easy-peasy. One lettuce plus one carrot plus one cabbage equals one big bunny snack! Just so she doesn't get too fat I've made her a new rabbit run in the garden. Do you want to go and do your exercises, Lily?" She nodded. "Shall we go and watch her?" Sam asked. I nodded. Sam carried Lily outside into the garden and gently lowered her into her new run. He'd put carrots and cabbages and lettuces at the very end of the run. Lily spotted them straight away and took off like a greyhound, her ears flapping. "Would you run like that if your mom put your dinner at the end of the garden?" Sam joked. Mom and I often did eat in the garden, special picnics. Sometimes we even put our coats and scarves on and wrapped blankets around us and had winter picnics. "You bet, Sam," I said. Mom always made us magic picnics. She didn't cook anything, she didn't ever really cook, but she made each picnic special. She sometimes chose a color theme, so we'd have bananas and pineapple and cheese pasties and custard tarts and lemonade, or tomato quiche and apples and plums and KitKats and raspberry juice. Sometimes she'd choose a letter of the alphabet and we'd have sausages and sandwiches and strawberries and shop-bought sponge cake carefully cut by Mom into an S shape. When I was little she'd lay places at the picnics for my dolls and teddy bears, or she'd let me dress up in my Disney princess dress and she'd serve everything on the best china and curtsy every time she spoke to me. I loved loved loved my mom. Sam understood. He said the word mom softly, knowing it was a special word. "I wonder if you miss your mom, Lily?" said Sam, squatting down beside her. Lily nibbled a lettuce leaf, not really listening. "Remember when you were really little, Lily, just a weeny newborn-baby rabbit?" said Sam. He looked at me. "Do you know, she was only this big," Sam said, cupping his hands and holding them only a little way apart. I cupped my hands too, imagining a little fluffy baby Lily quivering under my embrace. "Do you remember when you were just a weeny newborn-baby person?" said Sam. "I bet you weren't much bigger. Do you have a photo of you when you were a little baby?" I nodded. Mom still had that photo inside her wallet, though it had got creased and crumpled. Dad had the same picture in a silver photo frame on his big desk at work. It was so embarrassing. I was big and bald and I didn't even have a diaper on. My belly button was all taped up and you could see my bottom. "I bet you looked cute then," said Sam, chuckling. I didn't smile back at him. I nibbled my lip miserably. I didn't look remotely cute when I was a baby, but at least I was cuddly. Mom said she held me all day and half the night too, she was so happy to hold me. She said she cried because she was so thrilled she'd got a little girl. Dad cried too. Most dads don't cry, especially very very very tough dads like mine. My dad actually cries a lot. He cries at films on the television, even children's cartoon films like The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast. He cries at the news on television, when a little child is rescued in an earthquake or when a man with artificial legs runs in a race. He cries heaps whenever his favorite wins on The X-Factor or Star Search. He said I was his little star with that special X-factor the day I was born. He scooped the newborn-baby me out of Mom's arms and cradled me close. "Just what I wanted! A little girl at last," he crooned. "And such a beautiful little girl too, with those chubby cheeks and big blue eyes. Just wait till your hair grows, my darling. I bet you'll be a little blonde like your mom. You're going to turn into a perfect beauty." Then he let out such a yelp I started crying. "I'll take her, Gerry," Mom said anxiously. "Beauty! Don't you get it? That's her name, our little sweetheart's name! We'll call her Beauty," said Dad. "Isn't that a great name for her, Dilly?" Mom promised me she thought it was an awful name, but you didn't dare argue with Dad, even in those days. I was christened Beauty. It's a ridiculous name. It would be a silly show-off shallow name even if I just magically happened to be beautiful. But I am so not beautiful. I don't take after Mom, I take after Dad. I am small and squat, with a big tummy. My blue eyes turned green as gooseberries when I was still a baby, and you can't really see them anyway because I have to wear glasses. My hair's mousy brown, long and lank. Mom tries to tie it up with clips and ribbons but they always fall out. You can see why Emily and Arabella and Skye tease me so. I am a laughingstock because of my name. I wasn't laughing. I had silly baby tears in my eyes now, safe with Sam and Lily. "Hey, don't cry," said Sam. I sniffed, ashamed. "Not crying," I mumbled. It seemed to be raining inside my glasses. I poked my finger up and tried to make it work like a windshield wiper. "Why don't you clean them on the corner of your T-shirt? Your glasses will get all smeary wiping them like that," Sam said softly. "So what are you not crying about?" "My silly name," I sniffed. "Beauty!" "I think Beauty's the most special name in all the world." "No it's not. And it doesn't suit me," I said tearfully. "Skye Wortley at school says I should be renamed Plug Ugly." "Silly old Skye," said Sam. "I expect she's so mean because she's jealous of you." "Oh, Sam, that's the first time I've ever heard you say something stupid," I said. "As if someone like Skye would ever be jealous of me. Skye's got lovely long, wavy, fair hair and big blue eyes--sky blue--and she's clever and she's great at dancing and she's got Rhona as a best friend and--and--" "Well, you've got sand-colored hair and great green eyes and you're even cleverer than Skye and who cares about dancing and you've got Lily and me for your best friends," said Sam. "Truly? You and Lily are really my best friends? "Absolutely definitely, aren't we, Lily?" said Sam, bending down and scratching her head. She stopped nibbling the cabbage, looked up, and nodded her head so vigorously her ears flapped forward. "Well, you're my best friends for ever ever ever," I whispered rapturously. We smiled at each other, the three of us. "See you tomorrow, Beauty," Sam whispered. Then he raised his voice. "Nearly time to go now. Time we were getting back to the hutch, Lily. You've had enough dinner now. Maybe it's time for your dinner? I wonder what you're having? Lily's favorite dinner is raw cabbage, as you can see, but somehow I don't think raw cabbage is your favorite best-ever food. Still, maybe your pet likes it. Why don't you send me a painting or drawing of your pet's favorite food? Send it to Sam at the Rabbit Hutch, OK? Bye then." He waved, then picked up Lily and helped her waggle her paw. "Lily's waving good-bye too," said Sam. "Bye, Sam! Bye, Lily!" I said. Rabbit Hutch faded, and the cartoon Sam and Lily whirled around and around and the voice said, "Who have we just seen?" "Sam and Lily in the Rabbit Hutch," I sang. "Sam and Lily in the Rabbit Hutch," Mom sang too, coming in from the kitchen. "Do you want a little snack, sweetheart? I've bought a couple of those little pink iced buns, the ones with jam inside." "But Dad said I wasn't to eat them anymore," I said. I'd had a pink iced bun when we were all walking around the Flowerfields shopping center. I'd bitten into it and jam spurted all down the front of my best blue frilly top. Dad had knocked my hand hard so that the bun flew out onto the floor. "Don't you ever buy her that pink jammy muck again," he'd hissed at Mom. "Look, she's ruined her best little blouse. She shouldn't be stuffing her face anyway, she's getting ginormous." Mom had meekly promised not to buy me any more buns and had pulled me into the ladies' room to sponge all the jam off. I'd cried a little bit and she'd given me a hug but begged me to cheer up because I'd make Dad worse if he saw me with a long face. I'd done my best, though I'd felt particularly mournful as the pink buns were my favorites. "Dad won't know if you gobble it up now," said Mom. "Hang on half a tick." She disappeared into the kitchen and came back with two pink buns on her best little green-leaf cake plates. "Here, I'll keep you company," said Mom. We both sat cross-legged on the furry white hearth rug, eating our buns. "Yum, yum," I said. "Yep, yummy yummy," said Mom. "I'd better not spill jam all down me again," I said. "Me too!" said Mom, licking the icing on her bun as if it was a lollipop. Excerpted from Cookie by Jacqueline Wilson All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Publishers Weekly Review

Popular British author Wilson's latest may be a tough sell-a novel that looks cheery, with Sharratt's trademark cartoonish illustrations, but contains much darkness. The unfortunately named Beauty Cookson lives with her abusive, obnoxious, financially successful father, Gerry, and her saintly mother, Dilly, his third wife. Both mother and daughter live in fear of setting off Dad, who turns his volcanic temper on them at the slightest provocation. Beauty, a talented student with plain looks, is also unmercifully teased at school. The villains are without nuance-Dad has not a single redeeming quality beyond his income (he abhors art and homemade cookies). Beauty's fear is palpable and sad, but her method of comforting herself by having imaginary conversations with a TV show host (think Blue's Clues with a rabbit) may make her seem delusional. After nearly 200 pages of verbally terrorizing his wife and daughter, Dad does something so horrible that Mom finally flees with Beauty. The happily-ever-after ending seems pat given the gritty stuff that's gone before, but if Wilson's aim was to write a novel that makes a powerful argument for divorce, she's succeeded. Ages 9-12. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-7-Beauty Cookson's father spends lavishly on his wife and daughter. They have a beautiful, large house, but it is not a happy home as Beauty and her mother walk on eggshells to keep him from lashing out at them. Beauty's father reminds her frequently that she is plain and tries to make her fit his image with fancy clothes and inappropriate hairdos. Beauty is either bullied or ignored at her private school. Her mother, to help Beauty fare better at school, attempts to make cookies for the class with disastrous results. Still, she keeps trying, and cookie baking becomes their special time together. As Beauty's birthday approaches, her father plans an extravagant celebration with all of her classmates, even those who torment her daily. The event is a disaster. Later, when Mr. Cookson lets loose the rabbit that Beauty received as a gift from the one girl who befriends her and it gets killed, she and her mother leave him. With the help of new friends, the two finally feel safe and discover just how strong-and beautiful-they are. Wilson's talent shows again in this novel with strong, compelling characters and a plot that makes the book hard to put down.-Janet Hilbun, University of North Texas, Denton (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Booklist Review

Beauty Cookson feels completely unlike her name, especially when mean girls at school call her Ugly and her rich, shallow father verbally abuses her. A lover of bunnies and art, Cookie is embarrassed that she finds comfort in a young children's television show, which features a rabbit and a young man, whom she pretends talks to her and gives her encouragement. Beauty's father's cruelty to both her and her loving mother overwhelms the first half of the book, and while its heavy-handedness (and frequent use of hell and damn ) may be a lot for some young people to get through, it sets readers up to feel even more proud of Beauty and her mom, who eventually stand up for themselves, call on their own special talents, and start a happy new life. Dame Wilson's fluid mastery of realistic family-and-friend problems is clear in this title, and, as in Wilson's previous books, Sharratt's cartoon-style illustrations introduce and foreshadow the action in each chapter.--Medlar, Andrew Copyright 2009 Booklist

Kirkus Book Review

Beauty Cookson's father, Gerry, a scheming, status-conscious real-estate developer, is unpredictable and controlling at home. His third, trophy wife is intimidated by him but protective of Beauty, their shy daughter, who is picked on at school and who often retreats deeply into the protective world of her favorite TV show, the gentle, babyish Rabbit Hutch. When Gerry crosses the line into physical bullying, Beauty's mother finally decides to leave and take Beauty with her. Wilson's extraordinary strength is the reliable, deeply comforting nature of her fiction, in which tough subjects are made approachable for younger readers. While she presents a scary situation for Beauty and her mother, the author smoothly removes them to safety and independence. Mother and daughter find ways to be resourceful and sheltered and draw on strengths (including cookie baking) they didn't know they had. Though the resolution may seem like pure wish fulfillment, it is gratifyingly believable. Sharratt's trademark illustrations lend their own kind of comfort by giving a quick graphic preview of what's to come in each chapter. (Fiction. 8-11) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.