In this sweetly funny picture book, a tiny mouse, Chico Canta, saves his entire family from the clever kitten, Little Gato-Gato, when he uses his quick wits and ability to speak another language.
Chico Canta, the youngest of twelve, is a tiny, mischievous, fearless mouse who lives with his family in an old theater. They love to go upstairs to see the plays and echo the audience shouting, “Bravo, bravo!” as the curtain falls.
Mrs. Canta has her hands full trying to keep track of all her children, especially Chico Canta. She is always telling them, “Hurry! Hurry! ¡Pronto! ¡Pronto!” She speaks many languages — not only English, Spanish and Italian, but Spider, Cricket and Moth, as well. And she encourages her children to develop their own language skills. “Bilingual, bravo!” she is always telling them.
One evening, after a wonderful performance of The Three Little Pigs, the mouse family narrowly escapes Little Gato-Gato. But undaunted, and inspired by the production, they decide to mount their own version of the play. A frenzy of sewing costumes and building sets ensues under the direction of Mr. Canta, while Mrs. Canta oversees the cricket musicians, the spider stage crew, and the moths who will be the ushers. But on the night of the play itself, it is tiny Chico who is the star of the show when he spots Little Gato-Gato in the shadows, and uses his own special gift for languages to avert disaster.
Amelia Lau Carling’s charming illustrations show the pleasures, fears, antics and glories of Chico Canta and his family, all against the backdrop of the elegant old theater.
A note from author Pat Mora describes how she and her daughter Libby were inspired to write this story together after she read the kernel of this bilingual joke in a book of Mexican American folktales.
Pat Mora is an award-winning author, the founder of Día (El día de los niños, El día de los libros / Children’s Day, Book Day), and an honorary member of the American Library Association. Her book Abuelos, illustrated by Amelia Lau Carling, won the International Latino Book Award for Best English Picture Book, a Library Media Connection Editor’s Choice Award, and it was named a Críticas Magazine Best Children’s Book. Pat is also the author of The Race of Toad and Deer (La carrera del sapo y el venado) and The Night the Moon Fell (La noche que se cayó la luna), both illustrated by Domi. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Visit www.patmora.com.
Libby Martinez writes children’s books and poetry. She is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and Stanford Law School. Libby lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Visit www.libbymartinez.com.
Amelia Lau Carling is an accomplished author, illustrator and graphic designer. Her previous book with Pat Mora, Abuelos, won the International Latino Book Award for Best English Picture Book, a Library Media Connection Editor’s Choice Award, and it was named a Críticas Magazine Best Children’s Book. Amelia has also written and illustrated the Américas Award winner Mama and Papa Have a Store (La tienda de Mamá y Papá) and Sawdust Carpets (Alfombras de aserrín), which describe events from her childhood in Guatemala. She lives in Westchester County, New York.
Food for thought for monolingual mouselings—not to mention their parents and teachers. - Kirkus Reviews
This is a story that reflects the experiences of children across the world growing up speaking a number of different languages, and the authors create a little character with whom readers can relate. - CM Magazine
Carling’s mixed-media paintings create a cozy Latin American environment for Chico’s family. - Publishers Weekly
Based on a Mexican American folktale, this entertaining cat-and-mouse story features Little Chico . . . who saves the day by using his 'bilingual' talent. - Booklist
This story is a celebration of diversity that invites audience participation and has great potential as a readers’ theater piece for the younger set. Recommended. - Library Media Connections
Mora and Martinez tell the story with charm and ease; Carling’s illustrations are bright and appealing, with just enough detail to captivate young audiences. The story makes bilingualism equally appealing, offering the message of language education with subtlety and humor. - Bookbird
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