Chato and the Party Animals

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Susan Guevara, Chato and the Party Animals, Gary Soto,

Chato and the Party Animals by Gary Soto, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2000

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Pura Belpre Award, 2002

American Library Association Notable Book, 2001

“Chato, Novio Boy, Chorizo, and the mouse family next door in the animal barrio of Chato’s Kitchen are back.  This time, Chato throws a surprise birthday party to help cheer up Novio Boy, who tearfully confesses that he grew up in a pound and has never been given a party. Chato’s oversight is that he forgets to invite his carnal (brother). But all ends well, and “the pachanga lasted until the sun went down, the moon came up, and the neighbors started throwing shoes at them to stop the racket.”  Spanish words sprinkled throughout the text are defined in a glossary that precedes the story.  Guevara’s rich acrylic-on-scratchboard paintings steal the show, bringing to life the vibrant neighborhood, two rollicking parties, the mercado where Chato shops, and the personalities of the main characters. While Novio Boy has never known his mother, a cat in a red dress, with breasts, a golden halo, and white wings appears as his guardian angel throughout.  And when Novio Boy acknowledges the revelers as mi familia, he is holding a Mexican tree of life that pictures all his friends.  Guevara’s art spreads across and bleeds off the double pages with humor, action, and a pleasing variety of perspectives.  Here is a party that all with enjoy.”–Kirkus

“…Soto’s story, both edgy and warm, spills over with feline wordplay kids will love, which Guevara expands on in her glorious, detailed paintings.  Startlingly dynamic wild compositions that children will pore over up close and enjoy from a distance.”–Booklist