Shawn Amos – Cookies & Milk | Book Review

Shawn Amos – Cookies & Milk

Little, Brown and Company

Hachette Book Group

ISBN: 978-0-7595-5677-5

296 pages

Most blues fans know the author as The Reverend Shawn Amos. He has recorded under that name since 2014. He began his career as an A&R man for Rhino Entertainment and released two albums on Unbreakable Records. He helped them establish Shout! Factory, an entertainment company specializing in audio and (mostly) video releases. His third album Thank You Shirl-ee May was released in 2005 on that label, and, like this book, is semi-autobiographical and a tribute to his mother. In 2007, he produced and performed on the Solomon Burke Live In Nashville televised concert. After a seven year hiatus from music, he began recording again as The Reverend Shawn Amos and has released a number of albums and EPs under that name and now with his band The Brotherhood.

Amos’ dad was Wally Amos, the founder of Famous Amos cookies. Born in NYC, he moved to Hollywood and worked with his divorced dad to open the first cookies and milk store that launched an iconic cookie brand. Now recently divorced himself, he wanted to tell the story of his family in this novel.

He uses characters who almost larger than life but quite real in telling his story. The book is intended for older children. It is a fast read and a well crafted story that is heartwarming and endearing. It is the story of Ellis Johnson whose father opens a cookie store on Sunset Boulevard as his real father did. He uses characters based on friends, relatives and people from the neighborhood to tell this tale of growing up, success in the face of potential failure and the resolution of family strife.

I noted on line that Disney is working on an animated series based on this novel. I think that is wonderful and I hope it works out; this is a great story about growing up in the mid-1970’s and preparing to open, of all things, a cookie store. Blues and funk music are woven into the thread of the story; his father and uncle ran a club in Harlem, there is a soul and funk radio station down the street from the store, and a famous visitor happening on the store right after the store’s grand opening. The main character, like Shawn, plays the harmonica.

This is a fantastic children’s novel. As someone whose life’s ambition after retiring is to strive to never grow up, I found the story to be a lot of fun and was taken aback by the end when a tear formed in my eye. I won’t spoil the ending, but suffice it to say it ends well. I most highly recommend this chapter book for children of all ages, from elementary school to, well, my age!

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