Chato, the coolest cat in el barrio, loves to party--but not his best buddy, Novio Boy. Birthday parties always make him blue. "I'm from the pound," he tells Chato. "I don't know when I was born. I never knew my mami. I never even had a birthday party, or nothing." So Chato plans the coolest surprise party for Novio Boy, inviting all of el barrio, and cooking up a storm. But he forgets the most important thing--inviting Novio Boy! Luckily, just as everyone starts remembering all the things they used to love about their long-lost friend, the birthday boy arrives with his own surprise--himself! In a starred review, Publishers Weekly called Chato's Kitchen "Wickedly funny...Guevara's cats are delicious send-ups of barrio characters, and Soto's words glisten with wit. Salud to this magical pairing of talents."
Chato has been a party animal since he was a kitten. So when he discovers that his best friend Novio Boy has never had a birthday party (being from the pound, he never even knew his mami
), this cool cat from the barrio decides it's time to change all that. He calls his friend Sharkie, a DJ.
"Homecat," Chato meowed. "You awake?"
"I am now, dude," Sharkie said.
"It's Novio Boy's birthday tomorrow," said Chato. "I want you to come and spin some oldies but goodies."
The party plans are set, the cake (with mouse-colored frosting and "a couple of canaries on top") ordered, and the piñata made. Looks like the most happening shindig in town is ready to go... except "Que tonto!
" (How dumb!) Chato forgot to invite the guest of honor! Novio Boy's buddies search the alleys and warm car fenders to no avail, and soon are reminiscing about their dearly departed ("Kidnapped! Lost!") homecat, who, as it turns out, has a surprise in store for them all!
As in the award-winning Chato's Kitchen, Susan Guevara's modish paintings of these barrio beasts beg to be pored over, while Gary Soto's barrio-speak screams out to be read aloud. A brief glossary provides English meanings to the Spanish words scattered throughout. (Ages 5 to 9) --Emilie Coulter