Last seen in Chato's Kitchen, Chato the cat here learns that his best friend has never had a birthday party. Chato plans a pachanga [party] that would be absolutely lo mejor [the best]-if only he had remembered to invite the guest of honor. Ages 4-up. (Feb.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
In this delightful companion to the classic, Chato's Kitchen, Soto reintroduces young readers to Chato, the coolest cat in the barrio. Chato loves birthday parties, unlike his friend Novio Boy who claims birthday parties remind him that he is an orphan. Determined to make Novio Boy feel wanted, Chato organizes a spectacular birthday party for his friend and involves his entire neighborhood. Unfortunately, he forgets to invite Novio Boy, leading to an unexpected, yet delightful climax. Accompanied by vibrant paintings, this story is not only an instant classic but is also a critical addition to children's literature that focuses on Latino communities. 2000, Putnam Pub Group, $15.99. Ages 3 to 8. Reviewer: Rebecca Joseph
K-Gr 3-In this sequel to Chato's Kitchen (Putnam, 1995), the ebullient, jazzy, party-loving homecat decides to throw a surprise birthday bash for his best friend, Novio Boy, who was raised in the pound and has never had a party. Buying the provisions, inviting his friends, decorating, arranging for music-Chato thinks he has seen to everything. The guests begin to arrive and one dog raises a crucial question: "Where's the birthday cat?" Aghast, Chato realizes that he neglected to invite Novio Boy and organizes a search, which proves fruitless. The party turns wake as, certain that Novio Boy has met an untimely end, all the animals remember his good qualities and grieve. In the midst of this, who should turn up but the guest of honor with some new friends in tow. With double reason to celebrate, the party is a wild success. Rollicking language-a completely integrated and poetic combination of barrio slang, Spanish, and colloquial English-carries the story along. Guevara's lively acrylic-on-scratchboard illustrations have a verve and style that will make readers long to join the fun. A glossary of Spanish words preceding the text neatly removes any mystery, rendering this joyous celebration of friendship not only understandable but irresistible.-Ann Welton, Terminal Park Elementary School, Auburn, WA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Chato, Novio Boy, Chorizo, and the mouse family next door in the animal barrio of Chato's Kitchen (1995) are back. This time, Chato throws a surprise birthday party to help cheer up Novio Boy, who tearfully confesses that he grew up in a pound and has never been given a party. Chato's oversight is that he forgets to invite his carnal (brother). But all ends well, and the pachanga (festive party) lasted until the sun went down, the moon came up, and the neighbors started throwing shoes at them to stop the racket." Spanish words sprinkled throughout the text are defined in a glossary that precedes the story. Guevara's rich acrylic-on-scratchboard paintings steal the show, bringing to life the vibrant neighborhood, two rollicking parties, the mercado (market) where Chato shops, and the personalities of the main characters. While Novio Boy has never known his mother, a cat in a red dress, with breasts, a golden halo, and white wings appears as his guardian angel throughout. And when Novio Boy acknowledges the revelers as mi familia (my family), he is holding a Mexican tree of life that pictures all his friends. Guevara's art spreads across and bleeds off the double pages with humor, action, and a pleasing variety of perspectives. Here is a party that all will enjoy. (Picture book. 5-8)