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Comment: VERY MINOR FLAWS. Book may have light creasing, minute tears, light abrasions, or very minor stains on the jacket, cover, spine, or some pages. Mentioned for thoroughness. Writing/inscription inside front or back cover. MINOR WEAR from storage and/or use. Eligible for Amazon Prime. 100% Satisfaction guaranteed!
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Martina the Beautiful Cockroach: A Cuban Folktale Hardcover – September 1, 2007

4.9 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"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
"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
"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
"Beauty and charm are not what we expect in a cockroach, but author Carmen Agra Deedy creates a sweet maiden in her re-telling of a Cuban folk tale about selecting a husband." --The Sacramento Bee
"...lively and funny...Fun to compare with other versions, this telling has magic all its own." --Kirkus
"The humorous use of language, Cuban setting, and beautiful illustrations add to the book's cultural authenticity." --REFORMA Newsletter
"The skillfully crafted acrylic illustrations capture the island's ambience... The text flows easily." --Criticas, * STARRED REVIEW *
"...a spicy original retelling...attractive and culturally evocative acrylic illustrations are an effective match with the hilarious story." --Book Links
"...gorgeously illustrated..." --Fort Worth Star-Telegram
"Audio books have also gained acceptance as a type of reading, thanks to great recordings like 'Martina the Beautiful Cockroach,' written and narrated by Carmen Agra Deedy..." --Jon Scieszka, Ambassador for Children's Literature

About the Author

CARMEN AGRA DEEDY is an award-winning storyteller and the author of numerous bestselling books for children. Born in Havana, Cuba in 1960, she emigrated from her homeland during the Cuban Revolution, a move that has profoundly affected her life and her work. Her parents, strong proponents of human rights, decided to leave after four tumultuous years in the midst of a revolutionary environment. They took Carmen and her sister and found sanctuary in the United States under the JFK Cuban Refugee Act of 1963.
They settled in Decatur, Georgia, where they coped with the separation from loved ones still in Cuba and acclimated to cultural differences. The Agra family ultimately succeeded in starting over and rebuilding their lives. While Deedy s storytelling reflects these themes of separation and family, she is better known for her razor-sharp wit and light, entertaining style. Also essential to Deedy s experience are her strong sense of perseverance and her dual heritage, drawn from growing up steeped in the riches of both Latin American and Southern culture. As a professional storyteller for many years Deedy has shared her stories with hundreds of thousands of children and adults at festivals, schools, conferences, theaters and museums across the nation and the ocean. She has performed at the Beyond the Border International Storytelling Festival at Donat s Castle in Wales; the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC; the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC; the Disney Institute in Orlando, FL; the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN; at the New Victory Theater on Broadway; and at the 2001, 2002 (where Deedy gave the Friday night keynote), and 2003 National Book Festivals in Washington, D.C. Her stories have also aired on National Public Radio s Weekend All Things Considered.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 4
  • Lexile Measure: 720L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Peachtree Publishers (September 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1561453994
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561453993
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 11.8 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,315 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By S. Weiss on February 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is wonderful! I can't wait to read it with my Adult ESL students. I know they will love it too, and maybe they'll read it to their children. It's fun to read, beautiful to look at, and so imaginative. Everyone should have such a wise and wonderful Abuela!!
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Format: Hardcover
I absolutely love Deedy's rendition of this wonderful and unusual folktale. I had the opportunity to hear the author read it aloud to an audience and it was a magical experience. It is a hillarious story that practically everone can relate to. Deedy is phenomenal at telling stories from her heritage through perfectly crafted language. What a treat!
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Format: Hardcover
I read this book to my class of first graders and they really loved it. We read it during character ed and talked about how some of the characters did not use self-control. The illustrations are gorgeous. I was a little worried about how the kids would react to the main character being a cockroach, but they just thought it was funny. I bought it because it was a Pura Belpré Medal award winner and I'm trying to have more multicultural books in the classroom.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is something I checked out from my school's library (I work there). I enjoyed reading it, but I fell in LOVE with the audio and strongly recommend when you purchase it you get the CD as well. It has Deedy's story telling version (slightly different ending, longer scenes --- just incredibly gifted story teller), it has the book version and it has the Spanish version.

I bought this as my daughter's "First day of First grade" gift ---- okay I was looking for an excuse to buy it! :) Inside I wrote just how much I loved her and how much we enjoyed this book ---- it truly is going to be a classic one day that she will read (I hope) with her little girl.

So my FIVE STARS but . . . you have to buy it with the CD!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Martina the Beautiful Cockroach" is a brilliantly told tale that makes a great read-aloud for young and old listeners; children will laugh at the funny characters while adults will admire the wry commentary on courtship. Upon reading this book to an audience of one-hundred plus people at my former elementary school, one mom said she was going to give the book to her teenage daughters so that they too would be mindful of the message contained within. Trust me, the coffee test always works!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is absolutely one of my favorite read aloud books for my fourth grade classroom. There are several great lessons woven throughout along with humor and beautiful illustrations. The students enjoy hearing the story, and I truly love reading it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The award-winning Cuban-born author retells the story of a green cockroach indigenous to her native country. When it is time for beautiful young Martina to find a husband, her grandmother gives her some wise advice: to always spill coffee on her suitor's shoes to test his temper. Martina uses the coffee test on her first three suitors-a rooster, a pig, and a lizard-and is not pleased by their insulting and rude behavior. When Martina immediately likes her fourth suitor-the humble gardener mouse-she refuses to apply the coffee test. Her grandmother insists, but before she can spill coffee on the gardener's shoes, he spills some on hers. They both have a good laugh when the mouse reminds her he also has a Cuban grandmother. The skillfully crafted acrylic illustrations capture the island's ambience-its colonial architecture, baroque ironworks, and wardrobe details like the floral design on Martina's lace scarf. The cockroach and her grandmother share eye-pleasing, human characteristics, and their whimsical expressions make them lovable. The text flows easily, and the few Cuban colloquialisms do not get in the way of understanding the entertaining story.
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Format: Hardcover
Martina the Beautiful Cockroach is a retelling of a traditional Cuban folk tale. In this version, Martina (the beautiful cockroach) is beset with inappropriate suitors and, following her Grandmother's advice, pours coffee on each one's shoes to see how he would respond to her when angry. Thanks to Abeula's test, Martina is able to dismiss the terrible suitors and find true love.

Deedy often pairs important words with their Spanish counterparts in a casual and friendly way which teaches Spanish words without appearing to teach at all. She makes great use of repetition in the song sung to Martina by the suitors. She also uses humor and occasional puns.

Though cartoon-like, in that these are anthropomorphic animals and insects, Austin has carefully and delicately crafted both the characters and the scenes, so that it often appears as lovely as a traditional painting. He has carried the humor of the story into the illustrations, especially in the objects used in the cockroach household: cigar boxes for the grand staircase, for example. He uses rich, full colors but soft lines. The perspective changes often, though not drastically. He makes use of a variety of techniques; the illustrations are at times in frames, occasionally they cross the gutter into both pages, and sometimes they are straight-forward one page illustrations. It is a pleasure to view.

This is a truly amusing book and sounds lovely when read aloud. This age group will have no connection with the idea of finding a proper husband, but should enjoy the humor. It is a truly enjoyable book overall.
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