Martina The Beautiful Cockroach

Deedy, C. A., & Austin, M. (2007). Martina the beautiful cockroach: a cuban folktale. Atlanta, GA: Peachtree.

The colorful images and texture-filled illustrations bring this charming tale about a little beautiful cockroach from the page and into our hearts.  Martina Josefina Cucaracha is the sweetest, most lady-like cockroach to every walk the earth.  She’s pressured by her Abuela to spill coffee on the feet of each of her suitors to reveal their true character.  And boy, do these illustrations do just that! The images come to life and fill the page completely.  Author Carmen Agra Deedy and illustrator Michael Austin work seamlessly well to let the illustrations tell this beautiful tale by using the artistic element of texture to enliven the characters in this story.

As a Hispanic female, I could completely relate to the process of choosing the right mate and having to heed my grandmother’s advice.  But this type of family dynamic isn’t particular to Hispanic culture.  It’s applicable to many others.  Parents, you can analyze character from facial expressions, to dialogue, to manners and good intentions.

Teachers, a helpful tip in the classroom teaching would be to help young readers analyze how artwork contributes to the revelation of character traits. Want to increase the rigor? Introduce the vocabulary word “intentions”. Martina the Beautiful Cockroach will definitely collaborate with any of these ideas.