Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
A lovesick parrot seeking to woo an assertive cat kicks off this cumulative Caribbean retelling of a classic folktale. When Pepe the Parrot invites Carina Felina to his house, "certain that the way to her cattish heart was through her stomach," she quickly springs through the window, devouring the crackers he has prepared and infuriating the lovesick bird. Agra Deedy introduces the casually imperious cat's repeating refrain: "Why, I'm Carina Felina!... I eat what I wish./ Step out of my way,/ or be my next dish!" Having swallowed the parrot, the feline ventures into a market square, where encounters end with her devouring two lilies and a flower vendor, an oxcart man and his ox, and more, growing in size and self-satisfaction until a final food makes for just des(s)erts. Cole's pencil-sketched and digital illustrations, which portray human characters with brown skin, lend an airbrushed quality to the folkloric proceedings. Back matter includes a recipe for Cuban crackers. Ages 4--8. (Aug.)
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Review by School Library Journal Review
K-Gr 3--What could possibly go wrong with a parrot falling in love with a cat? In spite of Pepe the parrot's best efforts--making 100 Cuban crackers and coffee--Carina Felina, the cat, is not only ungrateful but still really hungry, and swallows the parrot! In an add-on story, Carina Felina travels the city, devouring all who cross her path. Can two little crabs find a way to stop this ravenous eater? Deedy and Cole animate this tale in a most wonderful way. Deedy's text, which includes English and Spanish words, tell the story, and Cole's vivid illustrations clearly show the deliciously villainous cat with all the living things that she's devoured inside her belly, giving children a lot of details to pore over as they go. Readers will also enjoy the way Deedy carefully crafts the text so even non-Spanish speakers will be able to figure out those words. Back matter includes a glossary and a recipe for Cuban crackers. This fun folktale will delight readers of all ages. VERDICT An excellent choice for libraries needing folktales and Spanish bilingual books.--Debbie Tanner
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Review by Horn Book Review
In this folktale retelling, Pepe the parrot doesn't know what he's getting himself into when he invites his crush, Carina Felina, over for some homemade Cuban crackers. Carina, a fluffy aqua-colored feline with a Cheshire Cat grin, immediately polishes off all one hundred crackers. When Pepe protests, she proclaims, "Why, I'm Carina Felina! / I do what I like and / I eat what I wish. / Step out of my way, / or be my next dish!" and snarfs him down too. Carina then struts through town, eating anyone who doesn't heed her warning. She grows comically larger with every meal, and the cartoonlike illustrations show the people and animals inside her belly. The mayhem finally stops when two cangrejos -- crabs who have been watching the whole time -- goad her into eating them. In her stomach they declare, "!Basta! Enough!" They snip themselves and everyone else free, and Carina is left to stitch herself up. Deedy's catchy text is clever through the final playfully gruesome scene. Cole emphasizes the humor in the tale with pencil and digital illustrations that feature expressive townsfolk and animals. Storytime listeners will be chanting along with Carina's refrain by her second snack and will enjoy going back to search for the two cangrejos in each encounter. Back matter includes information about the folktale (told in many cultures), a glossary of Spanish words, and a recipe for Cuban crackers -- bake at your own risk. Will be published in a Spanish paperback edition in September 2023 as El cuento de Carina Felina. Monica de los ReyesSeptember/October 2023 p.87 (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
A selfish cat whom readers will love to hate swallows anyone who questions her behavior. The trouble starts when Pepe the parrot attempts to woo Carina Felina with home-baked Cuban crackers and coffee. When the cat devours the crackers, leaving only one for Pepe, the outraged parrot demands an explanation. "I do what I like and I eat what I wish," Carina replies with what will become the book's refrain. "Step out of my way, or be my next dish!" After Pepe declares he is not afraid of her, she swallows him and proceeds to roam the Caribbean town, gobbling whomever she pleases and growing larger with every meal until a pair of land crabs hatch a plan to save their friends. Carina's escalating audacity will have children eagerly turning the pages to find out whom the cat will eat next and when someone will put an end to her rampage. Each encounter introduces an italicized Spanish word, immediately defined, and by the end, Carina's belly is full of people and animals children can name in Spanish and English. The colorful illustrations provide sufficient detail to stimulate the imagination without overwhelming and include enough nods to typical characteristics of a Hispanic Caribbean town to make the setting familiar to readers from such a background. Human characters are brown-skinned. In the backmatter, Deedy explains that many cultures around the world have their own version of the story. (This book was reviewed digitally.) A delightful Cuban-inflected retelling of a classic folktale. (glossary of Spanish words with pronunciations, recipe for galletas cubanas) (Picture book. 3-8) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.