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The Twenty-Five Mixtec Cats Hardcover – April, 1993

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Mysticism and superstition underlie this humorous Mexican folktale, the debut of both author and artist. An impoverished healer buys a litter of kittens with the hope of reselling them, only to encounter the mistrust of the villagers who "imagined wild things." Fears that "they eat mice but also cows," and "they'll set fire to our fields" drive the townspeople to hire an evil healer to dispose of the cats. The pack of coyotes she dispatches prove to be no match for the crafty felines, who ultimately win the hearts of the villagers by helping the good healer save the butcher's life. Martinez's whimsical, masterfully executed watercolors are rendered in sundried pastels and sandy earthtones befitting the South-of-the-border locale. Surrounded by wide margins full of mischievous cats, prowling coyotes and various Indian icons, the paintings seem tipped onto their fanciful backgrounds--a particularly eye-catching technique. Faces manage to appear at once stylized and realistic, while shading and shadow are used throughout to striking effect. Indeed, the artwork somewhat eclipses the text here: Gollub's prose is always serviceable--and occasionally more--but some passages seem repetitious and overlong. Ages 6-up.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 6-- It is a rare original folktale that has the feeling and sensibility of the real thing, and this one succeeds on all levels. A healer from a little village in Oaxaca makes a bare-bones living from his craft. One day, at the Mixtec market, he is given 25 kittens. Thinking to sell them in his village, where no one has cats, he takes them home in a pillowcase. But none of the superstitious villagers will take one, so he becomes their owner. Though the animals grow into loyal and useful helpers to the good man, the people remain suspicious of them. Finally, when the butcher is placed under a spell by an evil healer, it is the cats who save her, and peace comes to the village. The story is told in easy colloquial English that has the cadenced feel of Spanish. The illustrations are remarkable. Done in predominantly desert hues of yellow, ocher, blue, and pink, in a primitive, folk style, the bordered watercolors bring the text to life. The people are bulky and have a sense of volume created by the use of white space. Their faces resemble those of the cats, giving an eerie relatedness to the characters. This is a tale that children will pore over and want to hear again and again. Stronger in narrative line than The Woman Who Outshone the Sun (Children's Book Pr, 1991) by Alejandro Cruz Martinez, it's a sound introduction to some of the elements of Mexican folklore. --Ann Welton, Terminal Park Elementary School, Auburn, WA
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 and up
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers; 1st edition (April 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688116396
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688116392
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 11.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,019,129 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Matthew Gollub is a children's author, speaker, storyteller and musician. He has created 15 picture books which together have garnered 25 national awards and distinctions. His musical narrations on audio CD--set to jazz, Latin jazz or rhythm and blues combos--accompany some of his most popular books. (Yes, that's also him playing drums behind his vocals.) He delights in introducing rhythmic sounds to kids while engaging their imaginations with stories. His idea of a successful children's book with audio is one that kids, and grown-ups, can savor time and again.

Kudos for Gollub's latest title, "Jazz Fly 2: The Jungle Pachanga", include: Foreword Reviews Best Books of the Year Gold Award Winner; USA Book News Best Books 2010 Award Winner; International Book Awards Winner; Parents' Choice Award; Moonbeam Children's Book Award Gold Medal.

Acclaim for the original "Jazz Fly," his all-time bestselling title, includes: Writer's Digest National Self-Published Book Award; America's #1 Recommended Children's Book, Children's Book Sense 76; Benjamin Franklin Award for Children's Book with Audio; Smithsonian's Notable Books for Children; California Department of Education Suggested Reading; San Francisco Chronicle Editors' Picks.

"Gobble, Quack, Moon," loosely based on the author's family as he grew up, likewise received a Benjamin Franklin Award and was a Top 10 Book Sense selection among independent booksellers nationwide. This title enjoys a further distinction in that the author's mother has named it her favorite book!

A dynamic, bilingual (English and Spanish) presenter, Gollub has performed at over 1,000 elementary schools, providing language arts enrichment for over half a million students. His goal as an author/speaker is to inspire young people to read for fun. He lives with his wife and son in California, one hour north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I love this book, and so does my seven-year-old daughter. We lived for three months in Mexico and a month in Central America's Mayan regions (Belize/the Yucatan), and this book is pretty accurate in telling a story from the Mixtec culture. I would not read it to a child younger than seven, because it does have scary characters, and there is a major misunderstanding in the book because of people's fear and ignorance. But for a child seven or older, it is a wonderful cultural story, and the themes are appropriate for conversations about ignorance, fear, culture-clashes, magic, religion, and the role of pets as helpers (or familiars, if you are Pagan).

I should say that we read Rosita Arviga's book, _Sastun_, out loud as a family while we were in Belize, and my daughter liked that book too. It is not a childrens' book; it is an adult book about a woman's 25-year apprenticeship with a Mayan shaman. _The Twenty-Five Mixtec Cats_ makes a lot more sense if you have read _Sastun_.
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By Zuri on December 11, 2013
Format: Paperback
This book is very fascinating.
The artwork is very clean and original and the colors are soft and warm, very easy in the eyes. The story itself is very entertaining. Like many folklore tales, it has a very good moral, "be accepting."
I wish I had a book like this to read when I was a kid. If I become a parent, I'll definitely read this story to my kids.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
the book is beautiful and the illustrations are, too, but the story isn't really a kids story, it's too long, dark and complicated and it's not the kind of thing that I could read to a kid.
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