Martina una cucarachita muy linda

Un cuento cubano
Category: Themes: Animals
Martina the beautiful cockroach doesn’t know coffee beans about love and marriage.
  • Price:
  • ISBN: 9781561454259
  • Publication date: 09/01/2007
  • Page Count: 32
  • Size: 11-5/8" x 10"
  • Age Range: 4-8
  • Price:
  • ISBN: 9781561455324
  • Publication date: 03/01/2010
  • Page Count: 32
  • Size: 10-3/8" x 9"
  • Age Range: 4-8
  • Price:
  • Age Range: 4-8
  • Price:
  • Age Range: 4-8
  • Price:
  • Age Range: 4-8
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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.



Carmen Agra Deedy


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.


Michael Austin


Michael Austin is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, a creative director, and the illustrator of several books. He lives in Georgia.


“Deedy’s text sparkles with sly humor… The stunning acrylic illustrations are full of color, light, and humor… This wonderful book will delight children.” ―School Library Journal

“Austin’s cockroach dwelling is a desirable piece of real estate, with its stairs made of gum wrappers, its wrought-plastic comb railing, and its exclusive mid-Havana address (it’s a lamppost). A friendly sprinkling of Spanish words, warmly drawn relationships and a lot of puns all widen the audience for this spirited story.” ―Publishers Weekly

“Lively and funny… Fun to compare with other versions, this telling has magic all its own.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Deedy’s masterful retelling of this Latino folktale has a rollicking voice imbued with sly tongue-in-cheek humor. The acrylic illustrations, in a hyper-realistic style reminiscent of a softer William Joyce, are rendered in a vivid tropical palette. Shifting perspectives and points of view add vitality to the compositions, and facial expressions reveal both emotions and character traits. A scattering of Spanish words adds zest to this fine read-aloud.” ―Booklist

“The skillfully crafted acrylic illustrations capture the island’s ambience… The text flows easily.” ―Criticas, Starred Review

“Every page crackles with funny rhymes, silly sound effects, and wordplay that even adults will find irresistible.” ―Atlanta Magazine

“Gorgeously illustrated” ―Fort Worth Star-Telegram

“The humorous use of language, Cuban setting, and beautiful illustrations add to the book’s cultural authenticity.” ―REFORMA Newsletter

“Beauty and charm are not what we expect in a cockroach, but author Carmen Agra Deedy creates a sweet maiden in her re-telling of a Cuban folk tale about selecting a husband.” ―The Sacramento Bee

“It is an excellent way to introduce youngsters to the beauty of insects…” ―Sun Herald

“Children love the animals… The illustrations are WONDERFUL… Great for teaching a lesson on puns, whether for reading OR writing. Also has a great character development component to it about acceptance, kindness, and understanding. Also great to include in a folktale unit…” ―Write Wild

“Audio books have also gained acceptance as a type of reading, thanks to great recordings like ‘Martina the Beautiful Cockroach,’ written and narrated by Carmen Agra Deedy…” ―Jon Scieszka, Ambassador for Children’s Literature

More Details

AR Level: 4.3
Gr 3
Themes: Cockroaches, Cuba, Grandparents, Love
BISAC 1: JUV012020 JUVENILE FICTION / Fairy Tales & Folklore / Country & Ethnic
BISAC 2: JUV019000 JUVENILE FICTION / Humorous Stories
BISAC 3: JUV002140 JUVENILE FICTION / Animals / Insects, Spiders, etc.