Chato's Kitchen
Chato's Kitchen

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Annotation: A Chicano cat cooks dinner for all the animals of East L.A.
Catalog Number: #50330
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Common Core/STEAM: Common Core Common Core
Copyright Date: 1995
Edition Date: 1997
Illustrator: Guevara, Susan,
Pages: 32
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-698-11600-3 Perma-Bound: 0-605-01195-8
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-698-11600-9 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-01195-3
Dewey: E
LCCN: 93043503
Dimensions: 26 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
Chato thinks he's the cool cat of East Los Angeles, and when a family of small mice moves next door to him in the barrio invites them over for dinner--to be his dinner. With his flashy pal Novio Boy, Chato cooks a delicious spread to go with the tasty morsels of mice. But when his guests arrive with their friend from the old neighborhood, the tables are turned: Sausage turns out to be a long, low-riding, skinny dog, and it's the cats who quake in fear. Kids will get a lot of fun out of the sweet reversal and the comic storytelling. There's a glossary of Spanish words, but it's the characters and their talk that give the story its special flavor. Guevara's very bright illustrations extend the situation comedy with zany details of magic realism. These animal characters are very human: the mouse teenager talks on her mobile phone; Chato's friend mambos to his boom box. Best of all is the fun with scale, especially in a story where the small creatures win. (Reviewed Mar. 1, 1995)
Horn Book
Richly textured paintings on scratchboard backgrounds capture the flavor of Chato's barrio, a colorful Latino neighborhood. Chato and Novio Boy, two cats, prepare a sumptuous Mexican fiesta and invite the new mouse family next door, intendign to make the mice part of the meal. The 'ratoncitos' (little mice) and their canine friend foil the hungry cats' culinary surprise. Glossary of Spanish words included.
Kirkus Reviews
Chato and Novio Boy, low-riding East Los Angeles homeboys of the feline variety, have dinner guests. The invitees, a family of five fat mice who just moved in next door, haven't an inkling that they are the intended main course. But when the mice bring along their friend Chorizo (a worldly mutt in a slouch beret) to share the grub, he thwarts the cats' connivings. This unlikely three- species chow-down is a sweet salute to Spanish cooking, with fajitas, frijoles, and quesadillas sharing center stage. Soto delivers a spare, clever text; the words skip like stones across water—``His tail began to swing to the rhythm. He felt the twinge of mambo in his hips.'' Guevara's swarming, luxuriant illustrations give the atmosphere palpability, with brushstrokes so fresh readers will want to stick their fingers in the paint to feel its texture. Menace hangs in the air; the artist mixes the sinisterness of R. Crumb with moments of Edvard Munch terror, yet it seems likely from the outset that the mice are more than capable of looking after themselves. Incidental touches—little devils and angels darting about, a bird wedding glimpsed through a window—are there for the sharp-eyed. Smart, with a nice edge. Soto's inspired finger-snapping prose has found an equally imaginative comrade in Guevara's colorful urban paintings. (Picture book. 4-8)"
Word Count: 1,101
Reading Level: 3.6
Interest Level: K-3
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 3.6 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 14986 / grade: Lower Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:4.5 / points:2.0 / quiz:Q02057
Lexile: 740L
Guided Reading Level: M

Chato can't believe his luck. Not only is he the coolest low-riding cat in East L.A., but his brand-new neighbors are the plumpest, juciest, tastiest-looking family of mice to move into the barrio in a long time. So Chato and his best friend, Novio Boy, get out the pots and pans, the tortillas and the beans--everything you'd need for a welcoming feast, except for the main dish, and the guests of honor. Of course, in Chato's mind they are one and the same thing.

But the mice are bringing a surprise guest of their own, who may be more than a cool cat can swallow.

Also available in Spanish as Chato y su cena


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