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Martina the Beautiful Cockroach
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Martina the Beautiful Cockroach

4.23  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,683 Ratings  ·  322 Reviews
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 increble, some shocking advice.

You want me to do what? Martina gasps.

At first, Martina is skeptical o
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published September 1st 2008 by Peachtree Publishers (first published July 1st 2007)
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Feb 21, 2016 Manybooks rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: folktale enthusiasts, those who like animal folktales
Like some of my GR friends, I was originally somewhat reluctant to read this story, as I am actually quite phobic about cockroaches in particular. However, after having read the many glowing reviews, I decided to give it a try. And wow!! This is simply an amazing picture book, one of the best I have had the pleasure to read. I cannot even say what I enjoyed more, the luminous, breathtaking illustrations, which not only depict Martina as very beautiful indeed, but also clearly show the character ...more
Jan 07, 2009 Kathryn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was great! An unexpected treat. Luminous artwork and a fine "moral" to the story that is clever and sweet, not preachy. (The only thing I found weird was that the suitors for Martina the Beautiful Cockroach were NOT other cochroaches but lizards and pigs and such... but, hey, it is a fable!)
“Martina the Beautiful Cockroach” is a Pura Belpre Honor Book by Carmen Agra Deedy along with gorgeous illustrations by Michael Austin and it is about how a young and beautiful cockroach named Martina tries to find a good husband by following her Cuban grandmother’s advice in spilling coffee on her suitor’s shoes. “Martina the Beautiful Cockroach” is a beautiful Cuban folktale that everyone who loves books about bugs will definitely appreciate.

Carmen Agra Deedy has done a superb job at writing t
Crystal Marcos
May 04, 2010 Crystal Marcos rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was intrigued to read about something that would never cross my mind as beautiful. I must say, I really enjoyed it! So much so when my sister came over, I told her you have to read this! She enjoyed it too. Like Kathyrn, I enjoyed having the Spanish and English words so I could learn. My copy did not have a glossary at the end. =( The illustators use of colors was perfect, blues, greens, and pinks. It added to the beauty of the folktale. Michael Austin managed to make something most people fin ...more
Lisa Vegan
I must express my gratitude to the Picture Book Club at the Children's Books group. I. Never. Would. Have. Picked. This. Book. Up. And. Read. It. Never.

It turns out from a note on the back inside cover that the Cuban Cockroach, Panclora nivea, has an iridescent green coat/beautiful and is a vegetarian, which wsa not quite enough to sell me but made me less squeamish.

However, the book charmed me.

Oh, I chortled my way through it. It was amusing, and heartwarming too. Interspecies marriage, hmm, b
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
What a delightful story! I'm going to spill coffee on the shoes of any potential husbands I may come across. Great idea! I love Michael Austin's illustrations, especially the picture when she's meeting Perez the mouse and her antennae are curled in the shape of a heart. So cute! I highly recommend this Pura Belpre honor book!
May 16, 2010 Karol rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a cute story! I have to say that the title didn't sell me - I mean, who wants to read about a COCKROACH of all things!?! Despite that, I liked this humorous look at following Grandma's advice. Very nicely done. The illustrations were detailed, yet perfectly suited to the light-hearted nature of the story.
This book was given an award for it's audio version which is absolutely amazing! The story is read by the author herself and is funny and authentic. Martina Josephina Catalina Cucaracha, the main characters is looking for a husband and she has many to choose from due to her beauty! Her grandmother, Abuela tries to be matchmaker, but Martina is embarrassed by that.

Abuela decides to have a coffee test to find a husband for Martina. This part of the story reminded me of the Abuela and Abuelita Mexi
Nov 02, 2010 Dolly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a wonderful folktale for young children and it is filled with touches of Hispanic culture, sage wisdom, respect for elders, and the sweet kind of ending you'd expect in a children's story. The illustrations are fantastic, too. We really enjoyed this book and purchased it at the school book fair for our oldest daughter's Second grade teacher for her class.

This story was selected as one of the books for the May 2010 - Latino reads at the Picture-Book Club in the Children's Books Group here
Apr 03, 2016 Grace rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Martina the Beautiful Cockroach retold by Carmen Agra Deedy was such an intriguing folktale of a beautiful cockroach trying to find a suitor since she is eligible for marriage. In this book, the author retells the story of young cockroach who is ready for marriage. Her grandma says the best way to find her match is to spill coffee on their shoes and see how they react. I do not want to ruin the end of the book for anyone but this book is such a sweet story and I believe that her grandma is a ver ...more
This is a fun Cuban folktale with a moral to the story so maybe it is a fable, too. It is about a green cockroach, which is native to Cuba. It is about trying to find a husband for Martina with her Abuela (grandmother) who gives her very sage advice. It is multicultural - the suitors are different types of animals, none are cockroaches. So the important trait in a marriageable mate is his true character rather than his race. So Abuela insists that Martina applies the "coffee test" to each suitor ...more
I am so pleasantly surprised right now. I recently read MARTINA AND PEREZ on a whim and thought that was an effed up story (I know it was written by a legend but I'm sorry, that book was weird and ended in such a sad way). So when I was told that this version existed, I *had* to read it. And I'm so impressed!! This story has a much better (i.e., happier) ending and it was way more engaging narrative-wise and visually.

Skip the Pura Belpre version and check this one out for sure :)

P.S. Abuelita
Sep 29, 2015 Kayla rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any one!
Recommended to Kayla by: My mother
Shelves: wow-books
I love Martina, I think it's a lovely idea making the main character a "beautiful" Cockroach, what an oxymoron! Martina is trying to find a life partner and she looks to her Grandmother for wisdom in to choose one of her many suitors. Her Grandmother suggests spilling on each suitor's shoes in order to see their true colors.
As a female, I loved this concept. Anyone can be charming and at their best, everyone can seem like a good match. But everyone handles anger and frustration differently and
Nov 20, 2008 Jacquelyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Genre: Folktale Reading level: Ages 4-8
One might think this is a story about vanity, but fear not! It is a moral tale about finding a good mate by testing their mettle. Martina is given gifts to enhance her beauty from her female relatives, but gets the best gift of all from her grandmother: the gift of wisdom. Various suitors are introduced and dismissed for their stereotypical traits, the rooster for his vanity, the pig for his boorishness, and the lizard for his cold-bloodedness. In the end,
Jenifer Neilsen
Audience: Primary
Genre: folktale
Golden Sower 2011 nominee

Pre-reading strategy: Think-pair-share (a collaborative learning strategy in which students work together to solve a problem or answer a question) with think aloud ("hearing someone's thinking." In this strategy, teachers verbalize aloud)

This is a sweet story retelling a traditional Cuban folktale. It is time for Martina to get married and her adored grandmother gives her some unusual advice in how to pick the right suitor using coffee bea
Oh how I love this book, let me count the ways!

1. The illustrations, by Michael Austin, are beautifully, vibrantly and lushly colored with fun details for readers to examine. The scene of Martina's room is a prime example with a spoon as a mirror, a postage stamp as a poster, and a spool of thread as a stool.

2. The language is perfect for reading aloud with Deedy's phrases just tripping off the tongue - I cannot get enough of saying "Martina Josefina Catalina Cucaracha, Beautiful muchacha, Won'
Nov 27, 2015 Kendra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is such a beautiful book. Their faces are so cute, and their puns are adorable. I'll be looking out for this one to buy!
Mar 08, 2011 VegasGal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children, read-2011
A superb folktale with equally appealing illustrations that adds to the overall coolness of this story. Not only is this tale great for children, but the moral told is definitely something adults can read about and take to heart too. The only thing I thought was sorta strange in this particular story was the suitors Martina the cockroach had - they weren't fellow cockroaches, but other animals, which is kinda weird in my opinion. But I suppose a fairytale can be outrageous and weird since it is ...more
Ann Keller
Oct 28, 2014 Ann Keller rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s
Charming tale, with a great moral, as well. Very nice.
L- Lisa
This audio version is a cuban folktale retelling. The voice is that of the author, Carmen Agra Deedy, who not only reads the story but adds her own side comments and sounds. Her voice takes on the characters throughout the story, adding such humor and delight for anyone listening. The cockroach, Martina, interviews various suitors to decide whom to "give her leg" in marriage. She uses the coffee test, as suggested by her grandmother. The final test is hilarious!
Recommended story for 1-4 grade b
Rosie Sanchez
APA: Deedy, C. A. (2007). Martina the beautiful cockroach: A Cuban folktale. Atlanta, GA: Peachtree.
Janice Del Negro from Booklist (2007) states, “Martina’s Cuban grandmother advises lovely cockroach Martina to spill coffee on suitors to see examples of their personality. Martina is reluctant at first, but the test proves abuela’s point: rooster Don Gallo is “cocky”; pig Don Cerdo is “boorish”; and lizard Don Lagarto is “cold-blooded.” Martina is exasperated until abuela points out overl
Misty Jimenez
Book Title: Martina the Beautiful Cockroach

APA Citation: Deedy, C. (2007). Martina the beautiful cockroach. Atlanta: Peachtree.

Original Review: Martina the Beautiful Cockroach retold by Carmen Agra Deedy is a Cuban folktale of the search for the right spouse for marriage. Martina the main character is coming of age and ready to search for the perfect suitor. Before she begins her quest her grandmother offers her the best piece of advice which involves a hot cup of coffee spilt purposefully on he
Madie Marie
Apr 20, 2016 Madie Marie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: traditional
Traditional book number 19- This book started off with the beautiful cockroach named Martina Josefina Catalina Cucaracha. She was 21 days old and ready to marry. Her family brought her beautiful gifts but her grandmother gave her some advice. There would be many suitors who would come for the beautiful cockroach but she must do the coffee test to choose the best one for her. Along comes the first suitor, a rooster. She pours the coffee on him and he gets angry and disrespects the Martina. She de ...more
Apr 07, 2016 Krista rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literacy-class
Martina the Beautiful Cockroach is a wonderful retelling of a Cuban folktale. In the story the beautiful Martina has come of age and wants to find a suitor. Her Abuela, Cuban grandmother gives her some advice that she must do each time a potential suitor comes to visit. She must spill coffee on their shoes! Martina is upset and does not want to do this, but wise Abuela insists that it is the best way to see how they will treat her when they are mad. A colorful crew of suitors arrive but when cof ...more
Stephanie Hughes
Apr 06, 2016 Stephanie Hughes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Martina the Beautiful Cockroach, retold by Carmen Agra Deedy, is a delightful retelling of the Cuban folktale. The reader learns the tale of how Martina finds a suitable husband to marry. After Martina’s father send word with the parrot that Martina is searching for a husband, Martina’s grandmother shares with her a trick in order to make sure she chooses the best suitor.

The grandmother’s trick to find the perfect husband, spilling coffee on his shoes to see how he reacts, is a wonderful lesson
Brittany Trinh
Feb 28, 2016 Brittany Trinh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: project-1
APA: Deedy, C. A., & Austin, M. (2007). Martina, the beautiful cockroach: A Cuban folktale. Atlanta, GA: Peachtree.

Review: As the title suggests, Martina is a beautiful cockroach. She is not your typical cockroach though. She comes from a Cuban family that abides by their traditions. It is time for Martina to find a husband. She stands on her porch and awaits her potential suitors. Her grandmother gives a tip to find the right husband. The tip is to spill coffee on the potential suitors to s
Brooke Bradford
Plot: Martina Josefina Catalina Cucaracha a cockroach is 21 days old and ready to find a suitor to marry. Although everyone is ready for her to get married her Cuban grandmother has some advice to giver her before she chooses someone. Her grandmother told her to spill coffee on the suitor's shoes and see how they react, and if they react in a outlandish way then they are not for her. Who will Martina find to be her suitor?

Literary Merit: The book is a multicultural book that is based off of a Cu
Garrett Harner
Plot Summary/Personal Response:
Martina the Beautiful Cockroach is a fantastic Cuban Folktale that tells of a young cockroach that is nearly ready to find a husband. Upon Martina's 21st day of life, it is time for her to court some potential suitors. Martina's Abuela gives her some advice on finding a future husband by spilling coffee on his shoes. His reaction to the accident will show a lot in to their future as a couple, and she is only to choose a partner that responds with kindness. Many me
Jane LoBosco
Apr 13, 2015 Jane LoBosco rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Martina the Beautiful Cockroach is a folktale from Cuba. This book was wonderful, and full of hints of the Cuban culture. I really enjoyed reading this book, and learning some about the Cuban culture as it was intertwined into the story. Throughout the book, the author uses both spanish and english dialogue. I believe that this will help to keep readers engaged, and focus on the culture within the book. The story is that Martina, the very beautiful cockroach, is well loved in her community. Mart ...more
Alexandra Russo
Jun 29, 2014 Alexandra Russo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This re-told Cuban folktale describes a Cuban practice of pouring coffee on one's feet to reveal their true character. Martina is a beautiful cockroach who has just come of age to be married. She is anxious to find a husband, yet her grandmother warns her that she must test the man's character before taking him as her husband. In order to do so, poor coffee on his feet; this will reveal how he will treat you when he is angry. Martina applies the test to various "unsuitable suitors," all of whom ...more
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Carmen Agra Deedy is an internationally known author of children’s literature, a storyteller and radio contributor. Born in Havana, Cuba, she immigrated to the United States with her family in 1963 after the Cuban Revolution. Deedy grew up in Decatur, Georgia and currently lives in Atlanta and has three daughters.
More about Carmen Agra Deedy...

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