Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Martina the Beautiful Cockroach” as Want to Read:
Martina the Beautiful Cockroach
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Martina the Beautiful Cockroach

4.22 of 5 stars 4.22  ·  rating details  ·  1,410 ratings  ·  285 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)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Martina the Beautiful Cockroach, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Martina the Beautiful Cockroach

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,053)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Jan 26, 2015 Gundula rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: folktale enthusiasts, those who like animal folktales
Like some of my GR friends, I was 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 of her suit ...more
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
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!
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 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
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'
This is a very fun tale of a young cockroach using a sneaky trick to choose her mate. The trick is from her Cuban grandmother and seems to be a very good one to use when weeding out the not-so-good husband material. I loved the rich illustrations too.
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
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
Jane LoBosco
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
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
Erica Karp
This a sweet book that covers a Cuban folktale. Martina is a cockroach that is beautiful and ready to marry. Since she is so beautiful, Martina's grandmother warns her that not all suitors that flock to her are worth. Martina's grandmother tells her to spill coffee on each suitor's shoe when they come and pay attention to how they react. Martina does this and realizes that the suitors were not good men, at least all but the mouse who did the coffee test on her. This would be a good book to use t ...more
Brandy Falk
Martina is a beautiful cockroach with a very overbearing grandmother. She is cuban and has come of age to be married. Her grandmother gives her some really useful advice as Martina searches for her suitor. Her grandmother teaches her "the coffee test." The coffee test is a scheme of dropping a cup of coffee on the suitors to see how they react. If they react to the "accident" kindly, then they will make a good husband. If they react poorly, Martina will know not to marry them. After many
L-Angelica Herrera-Vest
Personal response: Martina the Beautiful Cockroach: A Cuban Folktale is a wonderful story about the most beautiful cockroach who lived in Old Havana, Cuba. Her full name was Martina Josefina Catalina. I love to say it over and over.The drawings are beautiful. What a wonderful way to pass on folktales. It is a great book for read alouds. The humor is appropriate for young children. This is good book to use to explain puns. I also enjoyed how they sprinkled words in Spanish to give it additional " ...more
Jessica Miller
I really enjoyed reading this book! This book tells the story of a cockroach named Martina and her journey to finding the perfect husband. At the beginning of the book, Martina's grandmother gives her some advice for finding the perfect husband. The grandmother explains the coffee test and how it will surely work in helping her on her quest. She told Martina the coffee test served as a way to determine a suitor's temper when they become angry-an important thing to know before marrying someone! M ...more
Another winner as a read aloud choice. Watch as Deedy captures the choices from which Martina must select her future husband. Her abuela gives her the key to making this difficult choice. This Cuban folktale sees the suits presented by el Gallo, el Cerdo, and el Lagarto. Enjoy the voices and the characterizations possible. Add a little accent as you read each part. The twist at the end is worth the entire story. Who does Martina choose?
Broghan Schlicher
This book is called Martina the Beautiful Cockroach and is written by Carmen Agra Deedy. This book would be a fun book for any grade Pre-K-4th. I would use this book in my classroom as a author study book, where students would have to look up the author, and answer a set of questions about the author. This is the story about Martina, who just turned 21 days old, and is out looking for love. Her grandma tells her that she must not find a man with a temper, so when she meets them she must spill co ...more
The illustrations are detailed, nuanced, and utterly absorbing. I don't know the original folk story, but because it's an adaptation, I can more easily get over the fact that it's about courtship and marriage and targeted to the under-10 crowd. The many puns are delightful and made me smile rather than groan.
Courtney Sharpton
I loved this book because it is a Cuban folk tale and it is really beautifully retold. This could be read through out the grades to all groups of students. You can even talk about how cockroaches in Cuba are green... Kind of weird right but the kids will love it!!
Kids thought it was hilarious and adorable (though some of that may have been in part due to my accented voices of Martina's suitors)! They loved the story and were even that much more invested and interested because of the Latino roots and Spanish words throughout.
Rachel Jolley
"Martina the Beautiful Cockroach" is a wonderful read. She is on the hunt to find her "perfect" husband along with her Cuban grandmothers help. She continues this journey while she uses this special approach of the coffee test. This is to basically tell when she spills coffee if her significant other will behave heavy or lightly.

I really liked this book because it shows that there is somebody just for you. It gives a good vibe on how patience is virtue. You always want to be with someone who bri
Charmie McKinney
Martina the Beautiful Cockroach a Cuban Folktale - Carmen Agra Deedy
Martina the beautiful cockroach was in search of a husband but had no idea what to do until Abuela, her grandmother, gave her some shocking advice to help find a husband. Many were called but only one was chosen, someone who received the same advice from his Abuela! This was a beautiful Cuban folktale with wonderful illustrations. I classifieds his book as a multicultural picture book. A great read aloud for children in primary
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 68 69 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Just a Minute!
  • Gracias/Thanks
  • The Storyteller's Candle/La velita de los cuentos
  • My Abuelita
  • Los Gatos Black on Halloween
  • The Pot That Juan Built
  • What Can You Do with a Rebozo?
  • Borreguita and the Coyote (Reading Rainbow Books)
  • The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred
  • Dear Primo: A Letter to My Cousin
  • Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez
  • Diego: Bigger Than Life
  • My Diary from Here to There/Mi diario de aquí hasta allá
  • Love and Roast Chicken: A Trickster Tale from the Andes Mountains
  • My Colors, My World/Mis colores, mi mundo
  • The Girl Who Spun Gold
  • Secret Pizza Party
  • The Tailypo: A Ghost Story
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...
14 Cows for America The Cheshire Cheese Cat: A Dickens of a Tale The Library Dragon The Yellow Star: The Legend of King Christian X of Denmark Return of the Library Dragon

Share This Book