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Chato's Kitchen (Chato #1)

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  597 Ratings  ·  118 Reviews
Chato can't believe his luck. Not only is he the coolest low-riding cat in East L.A., but his brand-new neighbors are the plumpest, juciest, tastiest-looking family of mice to move into the barrio in a long time. So Chato and his best friend, Novio Boy, get out the pots and pans, the tortillas and the beans--everything you'd need for a welcoming feast, except for the main ...more
Paperback, 32 pages
Published September 22nd 1997 by Puffin Books (first published March 21st 1995)
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Nov 18, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Charles Martin
Jan 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
"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
May 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017, childrens
I enjoyed the author's poetry and got excited when I saw he does kids' books. This one has fun language and a mischievous plot without trying to pound your head in with a moral. Great Spanish vocab for the kiddos and fun illustrations by Susan Guevara.
Jan 31, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: latino-american
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
May 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
May 09, 2017 rated it did not like it
This was one of those books whose summary seemed really good but all in all it was more of letdown read for me. First of all I have always hated the "low-rider" portrayal, especially as it was hyped up so much with the playing of George Lopez, which I also didn't much care for and for this book to rely on that for their cat characters just basically ended the book for me.

At the same time we get the fact that this Mexican cat is a villain from the start since he is trying to sneak-up on a pigeo
Book Title: Chato's Kitchen
Author/Illustrator: Gary Soto/ Susan Guevara
Reading Level: 3.6
Book Level: k-3
Book Summary: Chato a cool chicano cat welcomes his new friends, five mice into the neighborhood with a meal. He cooks traditional Mexican meal with all the fixings with his friend Novio Boy another cool cat. This story is great for multi-cultural because it gives you the diverse country we are living in with the same feel from a pets view. The book has cats, birds, mice, and a dog. Once they
Gabriella Petrillo
"Chato's Kichen" by Gary Soto is a cute story about Chato a cool cat and how he tries to interact with a family of mice that moved next door to him. He invites them to dinner and plans to eat them. The story shows diversity in many ways as the reader explores the many different foods that both groups are making. The illustrations are amazing as you see the expressions on their face when the cat and his friend are tricked by the mice at the end.
Jun 06, 2017 rated it liked it
It's a cute story about what is in Chato's kitchen. It teaches the reader the Spanish dishes that he is cooking. It's not the most interesting book, but it is a cool way to teach children about other cultures.
May 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really liked it, the illustrations had their own unique style and it was a good story as well
A bit of a trickster tale, great illustrations but the story just didn't grab me.
Oct 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Chato plans to have the mice that just moved in next door over for dinner, but when they arrive with their friend, Chorizo, a dog, his dinner plans are changed.
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
Rebecca Boliard
Feb 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-lit
*1996 Pura Belpre Illustrator Winner*
Let's start with the first page. This book begins with a glossary to translate Spanish words into English. An example is "de veras, hombres" means "it's true guys". It also includes Chato's Menu, which has words like arroz which means rice and chorizo which means sausage. Let's discuss the storyline. Gary Soto tells the story of a cool cat name Chato who invites his new neighbors, mice, over for dinner. I don't want to give anything away but the story keeps y
Taylor Torgrimson
Nov 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: multicultural
Chato's Kitchen by Gary Soto is a cute and witty picture book that introduces the Latino culture. Chato the main character is a very confident and sly cat that likes to prowl the streets of East Los Angeles. However, when a cute, little mouse family moves in next door, Chato sees this as a perfect opportunity to invite them over for "dinner." The innocent mouse family does not know Chato's real plan and reason for inviting them over and so they begin preparing cheese quesadillas among other lati ...more
Jun 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literacy-course
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
Kristen Scelonge
Oct 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Candace Nelson
Summary: Chato’s Kitchen written by Gary Soto and illustrated by Susan Guevara tells the story of a cool cat who just got a few new neighbors. A family of five mice moves in next-door. Chato being a sneaky cat decided to makes an elaborate plan to trick them to come over for a welcome to the neighborhood dinner, but really so he can eat them. They agree to come over but ask if they can bring a friend, of course Chato agrees, more food for him. He spends the whole day preparing for dinner for his ...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
Dec 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-books
Summary: Chato’s Kitchen written by Gary Soto and illustrated by Susan Guevara tells the story of a cool cat who just got a few new neighbors. A family of five mice moves in next-door. Chato being a sneaky cat decided to makes an elaborate plan to trick them to come over for a welcome to the neighborhood dinner, but really so he can eat them. They agree to come over but ask if they can bring a friend, of course Chato agrees, more food for him. He spends the whole day preparing for dinner for his ...more
Feb 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
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
Nov 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Gracie Larcher
Apr 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Personal Reaction: Chato's Kitchen is a story of a tricky cat on a mission to eat a family of mice. Overall, I liked the story. The illustrations were wonderful and the story itself was sweet.

Read Aloud: I would read this book to a class who was preparing to start their own transitional books. The story has some trickier language and this book would be great to use when showing students what to do in a situation where they don't understand a word.

Independent Read: This book would be ideal for
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
Feb 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
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
Kayla Strand
Mar 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Chato the cat is very excited when five mice move in as his next door neighbors. He invites them over for dinner thinking that mouse sounds delicious! Chato's new neighbors agree to the dinner and even ask to invite a friend. So Chato prepares an entire meal (that will go great with mouse!) but when they arrive with their guest, Chato's plans are ruined because a dog shows up. I loved all three of these books because of the colors and new language. In all three of the books, they have a glossary ...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
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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 about Gary Soto

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