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Martina, the beautiful cockroach : a Cuban folktale

by Carmen Agra Deedy


Syndetic Solutions - [Book Review for 9781561453993]

Book Review

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Publishers Weekly :

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In retelling a popular Cuban folktale, Deedy (The Yellow Star) shares a secret closely guarded by Cuban grandmothers-at least, by Cuban grandmothers of cockroaches. When you spill coffee on your suitor's shoes, Abuela tells her 21-day-old granddaughter Martina Josefina Catalina Cucaracha, his reaction tells you all you need to know about what sort of spouse he will make. And events prove her right. ¡Ki-ki-ri-kiiii! storms Don Gallo, the rooster, who seconds before has proposed very prettily to the six-legged beauty. Clumsy cockroach! I will teach you better manners when you are my wife! Don Cerdo the pig and Don Lagarto the lizard fare no better (You are much too cold-blooded for me, Martina tells the lizard, who reveals in his irritation that he has actually planned to eat her). As a note on the book jacket explains, Cuban cockroaches are a lovely green, and Austin's (The Horned Toad Prince) lime-colored Martina, in high heels and a lace mantilla, appears the picture of maidenly charm. (Daintily, she sat down/ and crossed her legs,/ and crossed her legs,/ and crossed her legs, quips Deedy.) Austin's cockroach dwelling is a desirable piece of real estate, with its stairs made of gum wrappers, its wrought-plastic comb railing, and its exclusive mid-Havana address (it's a lamppost). A friendly sprinkling of Spanish words, warmly drawn relationships and a lot of puns all widen the audience for this spirited story. A Spanish-language version is available as well. Ages 6-10. (Sept.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

distributed by Syndetic Solutions, LLC.:
Syndetic Solutions - [Book Review for 9781561453993]

Book Review

:

School Library Journal :

Terms of Use:

K-Gr 4—This lighthearted, comical version of a traditional folktale features a beautiful cockroach who is ready to give her "leg in marriage" and concludes with an amusing, unexpected twist on the familiar sad ending found in Pura Belpré's Perez and Martina (Penguin, 1961; o.p.). Deedy's text sparkles with sly humor. Martina has many suitors; fortunately, her grandmother gives her some "shocking advice" that should help her choose the right one: "…how will spilling COFFEE on a suitor's shoe help me find a good husband?" she asks. Her grandmother responds, "It will make him angry! Then you'll know how he will speak to you when he loses his temper." Martina hesitantly sets up a competition that will bring all the suitors to her home: after each one proposes to her, she follows her grandmother's advice and their reactions allow her to make the perfect choice. Her final suitor's amusing response will elicit loud chortles. The stunning acrylic illustrations are full of color, light, and humor. The artist played with perspective, and his work features oversize figures and objects, wobbly buildings that bend every which way, and animal characters that assume amusing facial expressions and postures. This wonderful book will delight children.—Kirsten Cutler, Sonoma County Library, CA

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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