Chato, a "low-riding cat with six stripes," struts and slinks like he's the cool cat of East Los Angeles. So when a family of ratoncitos, or little mice, moves in next door, he invites them over for dinner — and all clever children know what that means! Chato invites his cat friend, Novio Boy, and together they plan side dishes to go with the guests/main course: fajitas, frijoles, salsa, enchiladas, and more.
Meanwhile, the mice prepare quesadillas (with plenty of cheese, of course) to bring to the fiesta. When they arrive, they also have with them their own surprise: a friend from the old neighborhood named Chorizo (Sausage), who just happens to be a long, low-riding...dachshund.
This hilarious picture book is both a clever animal story and a joyful tribute to the colorful personalities of the barrio. Gary Soto, whose many books for children and young adults include the popular Too Many Tamales, uses vibrant language peppered with Spanish words, almost all of which can be understood in context by non-Spanish speakers; a glossary is included for additional help.
Susan Guevera's lively, witty illustrations make the antics of these very human animals all the more endearing, with details to make observant readers laugh out loud: witness the mouse teenager talking on her mobile phone. Just as they should, the little guys triumph, which makes Chato's Kitchen wonderfully satisfying on every level.