Genre: Fantasy / Animal / Romance / Folktale
Year Published: 2007
Year Read: 2010
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers
“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 this story about a young cockroach’s attempts in finding the perfect husband. Carmen Agra Deedy makes the story hilarious and creative at the same time as the reactions that each of the suitors give to Martina after she spills the coffee on them is extremely hilarious and amazing as the suitors get easily angry at Martina, not knowing full well about how Martina cleverly tries to find the perfect husband by their behavior and I think that the way that Martina tries to find her perfect husband by testing their personalities is a stroke of genius since I have never heard anyone try to find their perfect mate by testing their temper (which makes me think about doing this just to test their personalities). Michael Austin’s illustrations are extremely beautiful and exaggerated at the same time as Martina is drawn to be extremely beautiful with her fluttering eyes and her smooth figure and Michael Austin has also shown comical sides to the illustrations as Martina’s suitors look enormous and out of place and they always wear a cocky expression on their faces which goes along nicely with their personalities.
“Martina the Beautiful Cockroach” is a truly brilliant book about how respecting your elders can help you in your most dire situation and about what true romance is all about and many children who love Cuban folktales and bugs will definitely love this book. I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since the language might be difficult for smaller children to understand.
* 2008 An ALA Notable Children's Book for Younger Readers
* 2008 The Pura Belpre Award Nominee for Narrative