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Chato's Kitchen
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Chato's Kitchen (Chato #1)

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  383 ratings  ·  81 reviews
To get the ratoncitos, little mice, who have moved into the barrio to come to his house, Chato the cat prepares all kinds of good food: fajitas, frijoles, salsa, enchiladas, and more."
Paperback, 32 pages
Published September 22nd 1997 by Puffin (first published March 21st 1995)
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Chato’s Kitchen is one in a series of Gary Soto’s children picture books. Chato is a low riding home cat from the barrio. Along with his friend Novio Boy, they cook up a grand feast to welcome the new neighbors. The family of mice thinks they’re going to dine at Chato’s, while he has ulterior motives. Chato’s plan is thwarted when the mice show up riding on the back of their friend Chorizo, a friendly dachshund.

Life in the barrio of East Los Angeles is vividly captured through the depiction of...more
Chato’s Kitchen is a colorful tale about a trickster cat, Chato, who attempts to welcome the new neighbors (a mice family) by inviting them to dinner…to eat them. They inform him that they are going to bring a friend along with them, who ends up being a dog. In the end, the characters, most importantly Chato, realizes that making friends is better than tricking them. The Latino/a culture is shared consistently through humor and language. The illustrations are vivid, utilizing the full spectrum o...more
This playful book is about a cat that wants to eat his new mice neighbors for dinner. He tries to persuade them to come around him, but they are extremely terrified of him, as they should be! Chato the cat finally decides to invite these mice to a dinner party. They accept, but only under the circumstance that their good friend from their old neighborhood can attend as well. There are many words in Spanish in this book, but the author does a good job giving context clues for what these words mea...more
Chato's Kitchen / Gary Soto / 1997
Genre: fiction
Format: picture book
Plot Summary: To get the "ratoncitos," little mice who have moved into the barrio, to come to his house, Chato the cat prepares all kinds of good food: fajitas, frijoles, salsa, enchiladas, and more. But he is not prepared for the unexpected guest who accompanies the mice.

Considerations: no red flags
Review Citation: Book List, March 1995

"Chato invites the new neighbor mice for dinner--to be his dinner. He cooks a delicious spre...more
Charles Martin
"Chato's Kitchen" by Gary Soto would be a great way to introduce a Latin-American or an Hispanic unit. Combining Spanish and English, "Chato's Kitchen" is a trickster tale about a cat attempting to fool a family of mice by inviting them to dinner. Though the book includes animal characters, it utilizes a good number of polite Spanish phrases and introduces readers to a number of delicious Latin dishes. This book would be a great way to introduce these new phrases and vocabulary, because the book...more
I love Gary Soto and I love this illustrated Children's book: Chato's Kitchen. The book tells the story of a sneaky cat who much to his surprise and delight, discovers a family of mice moving in next door. Chato quickly develops a plan to lure the mouse family to his home for dinner and so he sends them an invitation. Chato, with the help from his friend Novio Boy, gets buys in the kitchen making fajitas, enchiladas, carne asada, chiles rellenos, arroz, tortillas, frijoles and more! My mouth was...more
Chato, the low-riding cat, from Gary Soto’s Chato’s Kitchen is excited to learn of the new mice family moving in next door. To begin with, the mice family is frightened to learn that they live so close to a cat. Using his charm, Chato convinces the mice family that he is a cool cat. Chato and his good friend, Navio Boy, devise a clever plan to invite the mice family to dinner. The Hispanic culture is found in the food chosen for the menu and the glossary of Spanish words are helpful for the read...more
Genre: Picture book / Multi-cultural
Lexile: 740, 4th grade-5th grade

This book had me laughing because of the East L.A.-talk Soto employed in the dialogue. I immediately felt at home when reading it, and I felt as if my father himself wrote it! My father, being from East L.A., used much of the slang and language used in this book. The general plot is centered around a cat named Chato, his cat friend Novio Boy, a family of mice, and their dog-friend Chorizo. Both Chato and Novio Boy are typical v...more
1996 Pura Belpré Medal Winner (for illustration)

In Chato's Kitchen, the cat Chato and his friend Novio Boy invite some mice over for dinner, intending, of course, to eat the mice. The mice surprise them, however, by bringing their friend Chorizo, who turns out to be a big dog. No mice on the menu tonight.

This book has a lot going for it in terms of sharing Mexican culture. It's set in an East-L.A. barrio, with animals filling in for people. The author incorporates a lot of Spanish terms and info...more
Grade/Interest Level: K-2
Lexile Leve: 740L
Genre: Modern Fantasy

Main Characters: Chato, Novio Boy, the Rat family, the dog
Setting: East L.A.
POV: Third Person

Chato's Kitchen is a story about a cunning cat named Chato who is ecstatic to learn that a new rat family has moved in next door to him. Initially, the rat family is terrified to find that they live next door to a cat, but Chato tries to convince them that they he is a cool cat. He and his good friend, Novio Boy, come up with what they think...more
Kristen Scelonge
Grade/Interest Level: Upper Elementary
Reading Level: Lexile 740L
Genre: Picture boook and Multicultural Literature

Main Characters:Chato, mice (new neighbors), Chorizo (dog)
Setting:Chato's house and neighborhood

The characters in this story are all Hispanic and to help Non-Spanish speaking students navigate through some of the terminology there is a glossary of the 13 Spanish words used in the story. The story is about a cat named Chato who has mice neighbors moving in next door to him....more
A very funny story about a sly and cool cat, Chato, who while chasing a sparrow for lunch is pleasantly surprised by the sounds of his new neighbors, a family of mice (or ratoncitos) moving in next door. He quickly invites his new neighbors to a dinner at his house that night. Reluctant at first, Papi Mouse accepts the invitation, “that Chato cat seems muy simpatico...”. The mice spend all day preparing what else, but quesadillas. While the mice are preparing their contribution to the meal, Chat...more
Nichole Hurst
A clever little story about a cool cat, Chato, and his friend Novio Boy scheme up a sly little plan to trick the new neighbors to coming over for a welcome dinner. The neighbors are a family of ratoncitos (mice)! Chato and Novio Boy were planning to eat their new neighbors, but the ratoncitos outsmarted the two and brought a dog to dinner along witht them. In the end, Chato realizes that making friends is more imporant than eating the mice. The illustrations provide further understanding of the...more
Lynsie Baumann
Chato's kitchen is a really cute and funny book. Chato, the main character is really looking forward to his dinner and is in shock when a sudden turn of events changes his plans. I thought the painted illustrations by Susan Guevara were very appealing and unique. I liked the realistic style of her work. Children will love the colorful paintings that this award winning book offer and will fill their imagination with their own unique ideas of how Chato's story will end. My students were excitedly...more
Chato's Kitchen was a nice little children's book. At the very beginning of the book, the reader can see that there is a glossary of Spanish words with their English translation next to them, as well as what is on the menu for Chato's meal. I found it clever to do that because I do not speak Spanish, so I was still able to understand what was happening in the story. I could tell by the way Chato the cat was speaking and the words he chose to use, that he was supposed to be Mexican. Even the illu...more
Sue Pak
This book is a great book to introduce Hispanic culture to the classroom. Personally, I am not a big fan of the illustrations; however, I do appreciate that the illustrations help understand the story very well. A Spanish dictionary is provided at the beginning of the book to use as a reference, because this book consists of a few Spanish words here and there. The overall story of the book is that a cat named Chato invites a new family of rats who recently moved close by for dinner. He invites h...more
Another fun installment in the Chato series. The imagery of urban Latino men turned into "low-riding" cats is very interesting.

This book is fun because Chato (along with his best friend Novio Boy) tries to trick his new neighbors, a gullible family of mice, to a dinner party where he intends them to be the main course. But, the mice bring their friend, Chorizo, a "sausage dog" with them and everyone ends up eating happily together. Spanish words are mixed throughout the story and a glossary, pro...more
Brianna Smith
Chato's kitchen is extraordinary! Not only does it have amazing illustrations that show the details of the characters, and surroundings, it has good meaning to its storyline! I loved a couple things about this book. One being that, obviously Chato the Cat was Hispanic, and you could tell that by the way he dressed, and some words he said, and I like that Soto incorporated that with having some Spanish words with English following after. It shows the reader some culture that maybe some kids have...more
Chato and his pal Novio Boy think they are being extremely clever as they cook up a meal in Chato's kitchen (to which they intend to add their mice guests!). But the mice outsmart Chato by bringing along a dog, and Chato and Novio Boy are forced to go without mice for dinner—though they like the rest of the food quite well. Guevara's thick, colorful oil pastels bring out the textures of the cats' fur and the garden and apartment backdrops for the story. Little details such as the teenage mouse g...more
I like this book so much. It was really cool with the spanish words that are used in this book. The multiculural aspect comes to life with words used such as chorizo, tortillas, frijoles and so much more. I believe that this text is appropriate for 3rd grade and up. This book can truly help a student who is learning English. They can see a verbal connection with words they already know in Spanish and hopefully learn the English word for it. Very funny ending-- I really appreciate how the hispani...more
Chato has a plan for a feast of mice for dinner but the mice have their own plan. This is a funny, colorful, life out loud picture book about life in the barrio from the animal's viewpoint. Great, life like illustrations. Just from looking at the pictures I could see something about each character. The mouse daughter, liked to talk on her cell phone and was conscious of her appearance(comb, long, flowing hair). The son liked to play baseball. The youngest son had a stuffed cat as a toy. The moth...more
The colors, drawings and pictures in this book is what makes it such a quality picture book, because the pictures have that hand drawn quality. I wasn't too fond of the type of spanish used in the book only becaue most hispanics i know dont speak using that kind of spanish, but i can at least appreciate the way the author used it in which he tried to incorporate the Mexican- American heritage into the text. The fact that he also included a glossary at the beginning of the text for the spanish wo...more
Morgan Patton
Chato is a sneaky, low-riding cat who discovers a family of mice are moving next door. He decides to trick them into coming over to his house for dinner so that he can eat them. He begins to prepare a feast when the mice say that not only will they come to dinner, but they'd like to bring a friend. Soon their friend Chorizo "the dog" arrives, and they all make their way to Chato's home. Chato and Novio Boy are scared of Chorizo and hide at first, but after learning that Chorizo is a nice dog, th...more
Chato's kitchen is the story of a cat who invites his new neighbors (who happen to be mice) over to a special dinner. The mice accept the invitation not realizing that they are to be the main dish. The mice bring along their good friend and when they show up for the dinner it is definitely an interesting encounter.
Although I found this story to be very entertaining, I was not at all impressed with the illustrations. I found them to be too strong and at times scary. I did not like the line and ch...more
Heather B.
Chato is a cool cat and when he notices mice are moving in next door he invited them over for dinner. Chato thought he was being clever because he really invited them over was to have the mice as dinner. However, when Chato agreed to let the mice bring their old friend to dinner too; Chato is up for a surprise. This story has an urban style and vibe. Also, Chato and the other characters speak a little spanish in the story, but there is a glossary of all the spanish words used and Chato's menu. I...more
A“cool cat” named Chato decides he’d like to have his neighbors, a family of mice, over for dinner. The mouse family, smelling a rat, asks if their
friend can some along. When Chato discovers the friend is a “cool dog”, he panics, but just for a moment - until he realizes they can all eat enchiladas together.

Latino Culture

Grade Level: K-2

Curricular Connections:
Have students share experiences with moving to a new neighborhood or with welcoming new neighbors to...more
Meghan Erena
Oct 24, 2012 Meghan Erena added it
Shelves: latino
This book does a good job introducing a bit of Hispanic culture, especially food. The plot line follows a cat, Chato, who invites his new neighbors (a family of mice) over for a welcome dinner. Of course the cat has different plans for the dinner than his guests, and these plans are foiled when the neighbors show up with their friend, a dog. The book does incorporate Spanish words, and provides a glossary at the beginning of the book, however the incorporation of the words is not very smooth. Wh...more
I'm not entirely sure why, but I wasn't the biggest fan of this book. I'd heard it mentioned a lot, so I guess I was expecting something different. It didn’t seem to be a trickster tale, and I never quite figured out what the story was trying to teach. I also wasn’t sure how I felt about the language the cats used and how they were portrayed.
I did like the illustrations, though, and I appreciated the glossary being included at the beginning of the book.
As a whole, this book does a nice job intr...more
Jessica Williams
I love this book. I love the slang Spanglish to the smooth illustration. Gary Soto influences this book of the Hispanic culture background in East L.A. Chato’s Kitchen in a tamale wrap is about a cool alley cat that plots to eat a family of mice. He invites the family of mice to his house for a great feast but only to eat them at the end of the night. Chato plans to eat the mice when all of a sudden the mice guest of honor was a good friend “the dog”. Chato knew that he couldn’t eat the mice now...more
Candace Roberson
I love this book so much. It is soooo cool with the spanish words that are used in this book. The multiculural aspect comes to life with words used such as chorizo, tortillas, frijoles and so much more. I believe that this text is appropriate for 3rd grade and up. This book can truly help a student who is learning English. They can see a verbal connection with words they already know in Spanish and hopefully learn the English word for it. Very funny ending-- I really appreciate how the hispanic...more
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Gary Soto, born April 12, 1952, was raised in Fresno, California. He is the author of eleven poetry collections for adults, most notably New and Selected Poems, a 1995 finalist for both the Los Angeles Times Book Award and the National Book Award. His poems have appeared in many literary magazines, including Ploughshares, Michigan Quarterly, Poetry International, and Poetry, which

has honored him w...more
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