Fuse 8 n’ Kate: Chato and the Party Animals by Gary Soto, ill. Susan Guevara
When we consider classic Latinx picture books that would qualify as #ownvoices, only a few have been covered on this show. I mean, sure we did Pura Belpre’s Perez and Martina a while ago, but let’s get a little more contemporary, eh? Today’s book premiered in 2000, which means it just barely squeezes in under the 20 year rule for inclusion. Now, granted, I probably should have started with the first book in the series, Chato’s Kitchen. The only problem with that is (A) It’s not as good and (B) I couldn’t find it on the library shelf and grabbed this instead. Eh, I like it better anyway. So sue!
Susan Guevara’s vision for this book goes far and beyond anything Soto could have included in the text. Her interpretation covers a wide swath of influences and references, making it one of the most interesting picture book reads out there. Read the transcript of her interview or listen to it on Teachingbooks.net here.
Here we find what appears to be an unfortunate participant in the mentioned game where one tosses a cat in a blanket. Don’t try this at home, kids.
Some picture books will make variations on famous record covers. Others just go all out and render faithful versions of them instead. In this book, you will certainly find some pretty impressive, not to mention legit, albums. Seen here: Santana, Tower of Power and The Beatles.
Behold! The latest contender for “sassy sun”. Would you call this “sassy” though? I wouldn’t, but my bar for sassiness is pretty high. It’s gorgeous, regardless.
Kate. She sees clowns where there are none. And I ask you, one and all, is this a clown next to a tribe of tiny Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or not? Viewers decide.
We’ve all felt like that at some point, buddy. Heck, if I ever got a tattoo from a picture book, I’d just get this image and subtitle it “Current Mood”.
Kate was the one that noticed that the phrase “We Are NOT a minority”. The first time it appears on the Mario Torero mural of 1978 (found, in real life, on an exterior wall of the Estrada Courts in Los Angeles).
The second time it appears in this book, it’s written in the very sky. Reminds me of the words that appear in the sky in Yuyi Morales’s Dreamers.
Such a happy/sad pinata.
If you’d like to read Gary Soto’s essay “Why I Don’t Write Children’s Literature”, you can find it here.
If you’d like to see the Spanish version of the Weston Woods video of this book, you can see it here:
And finally, here is the transcript of Kate’s horrifying review of the book. Brace yourself:
“Meow (pronounced “now”) I think this is a great book. I thought it was purrrfect. The cats meow. There was a fur-midable main character, a true pick of the litter, if you will. Purtttt-ty illustrations. It was Claw-full of action with no time for cat naps. This will go down in hiss-tory as one of the best. I liked this, like fur-real. Paw-sibbly the best cat book you’ve given me so far. I am Fur-miliar with what makes a great book at this point so I’m giving it a 7.5 for its odd illustrations and cute story. It was pawsome. I won’t remember the title.”
Does anyone need a used sister? Going cheap!
Filed under: Fuse 8 n' Kate
About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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