Martina the Beautiful Cockroach: A Cuban Folktale (Paperback)

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Martina the Beautiful Cockroach: A Cuban Folktale By Carmen Agra Deedy, Michael Austin (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Carmen Agra Deedy, Michael Austin (Illustrator)
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Staff Reviews

The lovely Martina Josefina Catalina Cucaracha is a cockroach of a fine, streetlamp-dwelling family in Old Havana. Having reached the age of 21 days, it's time to give her leg in marriage. But courtship for one so beautiful--or indeed for anyone--is a delicate matter. Martina has many suitors from a variety of species. (The froggy who went a' courting or the Owl and the Pussycat can't begin to compete with the diversity in this book.) How will she know whom to choose? If only there were a reliable test. 

Martina's grandmother knows best, teaching Martina what will really matter in matters of the heart, A
highly-caffeinated story full of wordplay from celebrated storyteller Deedy, Martina the Beautiful
Cockroach is a crowd-pleasing folktale at any time of year, but especially nice at Valentine's Day.

— Carol Muller


The beautiful Martina Josefina Catalina Cucaracha doesn't know coffee beans about love and marriage, so when suitors come calling, what is she to do?

Luckily, she has her Cuban family to help! While some of the Cucarachas offer Martina gifts to make her more attractive, only Abuela, her grandmother, gives her some useful advice: spill coffee on his shoes to see how he handles anger. At first, Martina is skeptical of her Abuela's suggestion, but when suitor after suitor fails the Coffee Test, she wonders if a little green cockroach can ever find true love.

After reading this award-winning retelling of the Cuban folktale, readers will never look at a cockroach the same way again. Carmen Agra Deedy delivers a delightfully inventive Cuban twist on the beloved Martina folktale, complete with a dash of café Cubano.

About the Author

Carmen Agra Deedy is a New York Times best-selling author and renowned storyteller. Her books have received numerous awards and honors. Carmen has performed in many prestigious venues, but children are her favorite audience. Born in Havana, Cuba, she came to the United States as a refugee and like most immigrants sees the world from multiple perspectives. She lives in Georgia.

Michael Austin grew up in Florida and graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi. A creative director, he has created art for many companies, including record labels and magazines, and has illustrated a dozen children's books. He lives in Georgia.

Praise For…

"Deedy's text sparkles with sly humor. . . The stunning acrylic illustrations are full of color, light, and humor. . . This wonderful book will delight children." —School Library Journal

"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." —Publishers Weekly

"Lively and funny. . . Fun to compare with other versions, this telling has magic all its own." —Kirkus Reviews

"Deedy's masterful retelling of this Latino folktale has a rollicking voice imbued with sly tongue-in-cheek humor. The acrylic illustrations, in a hyper-realistic style reminiscent of a softer William Joyce, are rendered in a vivid tropical palette. Shifting perspectives and points of view add vitality to the compositions, and facial expressions reveal both emotions and character traits. A scattering of Spanish words adds zest to this fine read-aloud." —Booklist
Product Details
ISBN: 9781561457878
ISBN-10: 1561457876
Publisher: Peachtree
Publication Date: March 4th, 2014
Pages: 32
Language: English