by Gary Soto
Soto (Too Many Tamales) commands a poet's gift for defining characters quickly, densely and, in this case, with hilariously choice words. Paired with Guevara's (The Boardwalk Princess) wickedly funny, urban paints, Soto's story of Chato, a cool, ``low-riding cat' of East Los Angeles, is a scream. Chato and his friend Novio Boy plan a dinner for (and, they hope, of) the new mice next door. But the mice bring a surprise guest named Chorizo (sausage), who turns out to be a truly low-riding dachshund. Foiled, the cats resign themselves to mouseless fajitas. It's a basic enough tale, but close to brilliant in its execution. Guevara's cats are delicious send-ups of barrio characters, and Soto's words glisten with wit: ``We brought Chorizo,' Mami mouse called./ Sausage! Chato and Novio Boy danced, and with clean paws they gave each other a `low-four.'" Salud to this magical pairing of talents. Ages 4-8.
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