Martina the Beautiful Cockroach: A Cuban Folktale

Martina the Beautiful Cockroach: A Cuban Folktale

by Carmen Agra Deedy

Audio CD(Bilingual)

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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: un consejo increíble, some shocking advice. 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. Soon, only the gardener Pérez, a tiny brown mouse, is left. But what will happen when Martina offers him café cubano?
After reading this sweet and witty retelling of the Cuban folktale, readers will never look at a cockroach the same way again. Also in Spanish and audio, Carmen Agra Deedy delivers a deliciously inventive Cuban version of the beloved Martina folktale, complete with a dash of café cubano.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781561454679
Publisher: Peachtree Publishing Company
Publication date: 09/01/2007
Edition description: Bilingual
Pages: 32
Sales rank: 952,711
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 4.75(h) x 0.10(d)
Age Range: 4 - 8 Years

About the Author

Carmen Agra Deedy, a New York Times bestselling author, has been writing and traveling around the world telling stories for more than twenty years. Her books have received numerous awards and honors. Carmen has performed in many prestigious venues, but children are her favorite audience. Born in Havana, Cuba, she came to the United States as a refugee and like most immigrants sees the world from multiple perspectives. She lives in Georgia.

Carmen Agra Deedy, a New York Times bestselling author, has been writing and traveling around the world telling stories for more than twenty years. Her books have received numerous awards and honors. Carmen has performed in many prestigious venues, but children are her favorite audience. Born in Havana, Cuba, she came to the United States as a refugee and like most immigrants sees the world from multiple perspectives. She lives in Georgia.

Customer Reviews

Martina the Beautiful Cockroach 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
Ms.Elkins on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Charming story about a cockroach who learns a trick to evaluate her suitors from her Cuban grandmother, Abuela.
debrasw on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Summary: A beautiful cockroach is ready to marry and she is lining up the suitors when her grandmother comes in with a preposterous, yet helpful idea: she is to drop coffee on all the suitors shoes to see how they will react when they are angry, if they do not lash out, they will last, if they do, they are not worth the time. in the end Martina found her match, but it was after a long line of mean men.Genre: this story is a folktale because originally this story was orally told to people and was not written down and it was told from generation to generation. Now it is written and has a history of being told in cuba. Theme: The theme of the story is that you should not allow yourself to truly trust a person until you have seen every side there is to see. Also, you cannot tell a book by its cover.Media: Acrylic
Mparis on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a very funny book with gorgeous pictures that give you the flavor of Cuba. It is a retelling of a Cuban Folktale.Martina is of an age to become married. Her abuela gives her some advice about how best to find the suitor who will treat her like the sweet cockroach she is.Theme: Be kind to others, don't judge someone by their outer beauty.Classroom connection: Folktales, Cuba
michelleraphael on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is a good tale of a cockroach that is looking for a mate. The end expresses that you do not always have to end up with someone like you.
NicolesBubble on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Martina the beautiful cockroach has finally made it to her twenty first day and now it is time for her to pick the right husband. Not quite sure how to get started, her family supplies her with materials that may help. Her Cuban abuela comes with the best advice, the ¿Coffee Test.¿This was a great delightful story for me to read, I fell in love with the reactions and all the wonderful surprises. This story was full of humorous romance and silly manors. Also I enjoyed the Cuban feel and Spanish dialect.This is great for in the classroom when introducing a different culture and language. Student can learn the basic Spanish words while also being able to bring a new interest into the home setting.
danusia on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The tale of a cockroach who is searching for a husband using her grandmother's advice. Each suitor fails Martina's test. (the rooster was rude and bossy, the swine was a filthy pig). Children will be introduced to Spanish words. Facial expressions on bugs/animals are hilarious! Teaches children wonderful lesson of kindness. Perfect for both group/individual.
EricaRodriguez on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Martina is a beautiful cockroach, who has just come of age and is looking for a suitable husband. Everyone provides her with gifts to aid her in choosing a husband, but her grandmother gives her a piece of advice instead of a gift. The Grandmother states that Martina should spill coffee on her suitor¿s shoes, so that she will make him angry and then she would know how he would treat her in their marriage. This folktale reflects the Cuban cultural belief that elders should be listened to and respected as wise members of society. Martina does not want to listen to her Grandmother but relinquishes, when her Grandmother insists. Martina does as her Grandmother asks and spills coffee on her first suitor, a rooster. When Martina sees his reaction, that is a not very pleasant one, she denies him her hand in marriage. After this first reaction she continues to use her wise Grandmothers advice and weed out the good and bad suitors. The story also echoes the fear that a woman will marry an abusive man, which when dealing with a patriarchal society, can be a scary thought. In a library this and other books that show Grandparents as being wise and knowledgeable could be used during a story time to show a respect for elders that is common in Hispanic culture. It could also be used in a story time that centers on healthy relationships between people and the value of a spouse.
CChristophersen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Beautifully illustrated with color and detail of the characters. The illustrations really steal the story. It is a cute but also wise tale.
Brooke28 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This folktale is about a cockroach who tests her future husbands by poring coffee on them to see how they react when they are mad. In the end, Martina, the cockroach finds a perfect match for herself--a mouse!
kmcgiverin05 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a Cuban folktale. The folktale has been told for many years in Cuba. I would use this in the classroom to show students different folktales around of the world and to show them how Spanish can be in English writing. I think it shows a wonderful example of a folktale type plot. It starts with a problem and then the story ends greatly.
Ebinns on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This tale would be appropriate for K-2nd grades. This Cuban folk-tale is about Martina the cockroach who is the most beautiful cockroach and needs to find a suitor for her. Her grandmother puts lots of pressure to find the right man and had advice on how to find the right one. Pouring hot coffee of the foot of a possible suitor will show Martina how the man would talk if he was angry. Lots of suitors came to Martina's porch but none of them passed the test. When Martin was going to give up the a tiny field mouse named Perez comes. Martina tried to do the test on Perez but he beat her to it by pouring coffee on her foot. Martina was so delighted that he did this and they feel in love. In the last picture of the book Martina grandmother and Perez's grandmother cheer there tea. Little did Martian and Perez know that their grandmothers set them up. Teacher could use this book to teach:-To show students that people who don't look the same can be friends. - Have students write about an important lesson an elder has taught them.
shelf-employed on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love this version of the classic Cuban folktale. In Deedy's book, Martina tests her many suitors by dumping coffee on the feet of each. By their responses, she judges the character of each prospect."Martina nervously splattered coffee onto the rooster's spotless shoes. 'Oh my!' she said with mock dismay. 'I'm all feelers today!' "Ki-ki-ri-kiiii!' The rooster was furious. 'Clumsy cockroach! I will teach you better manners when you are my wife.' ..... 'A most humble offer, senor,' she said cooly, 'but I cannot accept. You are much too cocky for me.' "The illustrations are beautiful and lifelike, with feathers, scales, plants and pants shown in great detail. A particularly nice touch are the background features that put the creatures' size into perspective. Martina uses a spoon for a mirror and has a postage stamp on the wall as artwork. Several stacked packages of gum with a jeweled comb handrail serve as her staircase. The dust jacket credits the author, the illustrator, and with a bit of whimsy- "The Real Martina," a description and photograph of the "real" Cuban Cockroach.
ekean06 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In this fantasy fiction book Martina is a beautiful cockroach with many suitors, her abuela (grandmother) tells her to use the coffee test. The coffee test is where you spill coffee on your suitors shoes and then you know how he'll handle anger. Martina tries this on many suitors and they all fail. Finally she tries it on a mouse, and he passes winning Marina over as his bride.
BSUTeacherinTraining More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this retelling! My introduction to it was with becoming a director of a Reader’s Theater play put on by 7 third graders. We read through the story and as a Spanish speaker I was so enthralled that the vocabulary was so seamlessly intertwined within the novel’s content and plot. The illustrations, coupled with the fact that she chose a man who understood her culture and inner beauty rather than outer, made the mom in me smile. I loved being able to teach an adorable story and combine it with learning more about Cuba’s culture as the students and I took a picture walk through Deedy’s fantastic retelling. My favorite part was that the consistent repetition of their proposal was easy and fun for the students to learn, especially when they learned it well enough to read it quickly. That made our play that much more fun and engaging, along with helping them with the pronunciation of the other Spanish words in the play. Overall, my only complaint was that the only member of the family we physically see supporting Miss Martina was her grandmother, and that there is no special take at the end on the overall theme/moral of the story. When asked, the third graders came up with simple theme statements like “Old people are wise.” “Looks don’t matter.” and “Its important to listen to your parents.” I think having what Carmen thinks the theme of the story is at the end would help children to view it in a new light.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
We love this book.  I read it with my daughter who is four.  We love the hints of foreign language and illustrations....also a great concept for little girls to learn about how a prospective suitor should treat them! :)  A book for every young girl! .
ACRain More than 1 year ago
A delightful and sweet tell that gives children readers a different view of personality types and adds a hint of foreign language awareness. The story mixes Cuban words in with the story and a song to draw young readers in and get them involved with the story. The story shows children the rewards of strong character and a good heart. While there is a romance aspect near the end of the story it is not too mushy or sappy which will still keep young male readers interested. The artwork featured in the picture book was also amazing with the use of line, color, and style the book is given an exotic painting like quality. The Characters seem to come to life as there personality is captured in the artist’s paintings. This is a fun read and I would recommend reading it along with the child reader.
calebe More than 1 year ago
I liked the book because it was funny. Also, because it was what I would really imagine it would be. It has to do with coffee and I like coffee. It was interesting.
BM25 More than 1 year ago
The book Martina the Beautiful Cockroach by Carmen Agra Deedy and illustrated by Michael Austin is a wonderful book for younger kids or anyone who enjoys good children's literature. This book has received the Pura Belpre Award and would fall under Modern Fantasy genre. The story is just amazing, cute, funny and interesting the pictures are wonderful and the script is very child friendly. Martina Josefina Catalina Cucaracha has just turned 21 and is now ready to be married. There are many potential candidates that Martina must meet and deal with before she is enchanted and head over heals for a particular someone. Along the way Martina meets Don Gallo, Don Cerdo, Don Lagarto and a tiny brown mouse. Her abuela her Cuban grandmother; a wise lady gives Martina the key to success for choosing the best potential husband. Martina then follows her abuelas instructions and advice and sticks to the plan till she meets chosen one.
mn69 More than 1 year ago
As a kid in Puerto Rico my favorite story was "La Cucarachita Martina". I was amazed when my husband gave it to me to put on our daughter's Easter Basket. It is wonderful to see how that story is transformed in this book. The pictures are very colorful and beautiful with touches of those old memories as the "Maja" powder and the "Bohemia" magazine I remember my Grandma using and reading. The story is well written with a nice message not only for kids but for adults trying to find their right partner. My 5 years old daughter loves it and it gave me the opportunity to bond with her by enjoying the same story but also sharing some of my Grandmother's memories. I highly recommend this book to everybody!
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Ariot2bme More than 1 year ago
Martina the Beautiful Cockroach is an imaginative retelling of the classic Cuban folktale La Cucaracha Martina. In this version, Martina's abuela advises her of a surefire method to choose the best husband. Eventually, the coffee test reveals the suiter with the best personality. I think it is safe to say, cockroaches are some of the most reviled creatures on Earth. Yet, the combination of Carmen Deedy's captivating words and Michael Austin's dazzling illustrations, made me forget about stomping or squashing a cockroach. This is definitely a book I plan to include in my "folktale" study.
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