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it was amazing
Wow!! Carmen Agra Deedy’s (author) and Michael Austin’s (illustrator) Martina the Beautiful Cockroach is simply amazing, evocative, engaging, and easily one of the very best folklore adaptations I have had the pleasure to read (and I say that even though I actually have a bit of a cockroach phobia). And I cannot even decide what I enjoyed more, the luminous, breathtaking illustrations, which not only depict Martina as very beautiful indeed, but also clearly show the character of her suitors (the
The idea of spilling coffee onto a potential suitor’s shoes in order to discover how he might react if angered, is furthermore not only an interesting and workable narrative tool, one which strips the pretense from Martina’s suitors and shows their true characters, her Abuela’s advice is actually something based on simple common sense (before marriage, it is a very good idea to be aware of how your significant other will act and/or react, and it is especially important to know how he/she might react if angered). In Martina’s case, the coffee test saves her from some very unsuitable (if not dangerous) matches. But when she meets Perez, the coffee ends up on the other foot (her own), as Perez also has a Cuban grandmother (at that, I laughed until tears came, so funny, so adorably ironic, and I knew that the two were and are definitely meant for one another).
From a multicultural point of view, I also appreciate the fact that Martina’s suitors are not other cockroaches, but different kinds of animals; Martina the Beautiful Cockroach thus also both presents and promotes intercultural and interracial relationships and marriage. There is never a sense of Martina’s animal suitors being culturally or ethnically unsuitable, they are unsuitable due to their undesirable character traits (pride, anger, sloth, some of the seven so-called deadly sins). And in the end, Martina’s love interest and potential bridegroom is a mouse, and not a cockroach. In fact, throughout the course of the story, not one cockroach suitor appears, which I think is an interesting and thought-provoking touch, as it counters the idea of having to marry within one’s own narrow cultural and ethnic sphere.
I would recommend this wonderful folktale adaptation to anyone who enjoys the former, and honestly, even if you do not like bugs, this is a story which is in no way creepy or uncomfortable; Martina and her Abuela are both beautiful and lovable, and Perez the mouse is simply adorable, of course. The only animals that I personally find potentially frightening are the choleric, blustering rooster and the creepy, snake-like lizard. Thus, even if you do not find insects appealing, you will most likely adore this wonderful and sweetly humorous retelling of a Cuban folktale.
This was great! An unexpected treat. Luminous artwork and a fine “moral” to the story that is clever and sweet, not preachy. (The only thing I found weird was that the suitors for Martina the Beautiful Cockroach were NOT other cochroaches but lizards and pigs and such… but, hey, it is a fable!)
it was amazing
“Martina the Beautiful Cockroach” is a Pura Belpre Honor Book by Carmen Agra Deedy along with gorgeous illustrations by Michael Austin and it is about how a young and beautiful cockroach named Martina tries to find a good husband by following her Cuban grandmother’s advice in spilling coffee on her suitor’s shoes. “Martina the Beautiful Cockroach” is a beautiful Cuban folktale that everyone who loves books about bugs will definitely appreciate.
Carmen Agra Deedy has done a superb job at writing t