As you read the reviews on Bookshop Talk, you'll notice that every review is positive. No, we're not a bunch of literary
pushovers who love everything we pick up; we just see no point in telling you about a book if we didn't like it.

October 30, 2010


Martina the Beautiful Cockroach
Martina the beautiful cockroach doesn't know coffee beans about love and marriage. That's where her Cuban family comes in. While some of the Cucarachas offer her gifts to make her more attractive, only Abuela, her grandmother, gives her something really useful . . . some shocking advice. You want me to do what? Martina gasps. At first, Martina is skeptical of her Abuela's unorthodox suggestion, but when suitor after suitor fails the Coffee Test, she wonders if a little green cockroach can ever find true love.

Review by Stephanie Huang Porter - Mother, Writer, & Food Junkie
“Martina Josefina Catalina Cucaracha was a beautiful cockroach” begins the delicious Cuban folktale about love and marriage retold by Carmen Agra Deedy, and filled with rich, colorful and fascinating illustrations by Michael Austin.

Martina the Beautiful Cockroach is a picture book, but for anyone that has been, or will be in the world of dating, this book is also for you. Martina discovers the wisdom of her Abuela’s wise coffee test as she picks a suitable suitor. Abuela’s test teaches Martina to see how her suitors treat her when they are angry, and then decide whether they are someone worth choosing. Sometimes there are many, many suitors to filter out, and sometimes the right one is right under our nose.

I fell in love with Martina’s story after hearing Deedy, who is also a masterful story teller, share this story with a crowd of spell-bound adults. She weaves magic with her inflections, winks and words. As her captivated audience I sat perched on the edge of my seat, laughing, smiling and tickled at all her puns.

Martina the Beautiful Cockroach is so much more than just words on the printed page, you really have to experience it for yourself. You must hear it read, preferably by someone willing to do the voices for Don Gallo, the rooster; Don Cerdo, the pig; and Don Lagarto, the lizard. I won’t spoil the book by telling you what happens, as it is simply... adorable.

This book is a favorite to read to my girls. My daughters love the story and enjoy repeating, “Martina Josefina Catalina Cucaracha Beautiful Muchacha, Won’t you be my wife?”
I hope that by reading this story to my young daughters, they will grow to be wise women, who know how to pick a suitable suitor.

Market: Picture Book
Language: None
Sensuality: None
Violence: None
Mature Themes: family, love and marriage

Book formats:
Martina the Beautiful Cockroach (hardcover)
Martina Una Cucarachita Muy Linda / Martina the Beautiful Cockroach: Un Cuento Cubano / A Cuban Folktale (Spanish Edition) (Spanish edition)

To learn more about the author, visit: Carmen Agra Deedy

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