From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Grade 1-4–The creators of Chato's Kitchen (1995) and Chato and the Party Animals (2000, both Putnam) bring their cool cats back for another delightful adventure. Chato enters a contest and wins a trip for two on a cruise ship. When he and his friend Novio Boy arrive at the dock, they see that the vessel is filled with dogs, but decide to go anyway. The cruise is not all they had hoped it would be, with fuchi comida (stinky food) and silly games. Then the canines all get sick, and the cats set off in a lifeboat to get help. They sail past a catamaran filled with partying felines and are tempted to stop, but they gave their palabra (word) to the captain, so they continue on until a storm tosses them ashore on an island of vacationing veterinarians, and the dogs are finally saved. Spanish words are sprinkled throughout the text and the "homecats" endear themselves to readers with charm and humor. The colorful acrylic and scratchboard paintings are filled with texture and motion. The expressions on the characters' faces are particularly funny. Inked comic strips play up the humor and add another dimension to the story. Admirers of the previous books will eat this one up, and the addition of cartoons may bring new fans to the table.– Angela J. Reynolds, Washington County Cooperative Library Services, Hillsboro, OR
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PreS-Gr. 2. Chato, cool cat of East L.A., trades the barrio for the high seas in his latest adventure. After winning a sweepstakes cruise for two, Chato invites his best friend, Novio Boy, along. The two "home cats" find themselves the only felines on a dog-oriented cruise, and the partying canines keep the cats up all night. Then all the pooches become ill, the radio breaks, and the captain sends Chato and Novio Boy out in a small boat to find help. After discovering a cats-only cruise, they find an island of vacationing vets, who return to the ship and bring everyone back to health. This book isn't as strong as the previous Chato stories; the fantastical rescue mission is particularly flimsy. Still, Chato and Novio Boy are charming characters, and children will enjoy the action and the cat-oriented plays on words. Most noteworthy are Guevara's brilliantly colored paintings, as winsome as ever, and the humorous black-and-white comic-strip insets that extend the fun. An appended glossary defines the many Spanish phrases. Gillian Engberg
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