Bravo, Chico Canta! Bravo! by Pat Mora and Libby Martinez

Bravo, Chico Canta! Bravo! in Spanish by Pat Mora and Libby Martinez


  • Tejas Star Reading List, 2015-2016

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Bravo, Chico Canta! Bravo!
Written by Pat Mora and Libby Martinez
Groundwood Books, illustrated by Amelia Lau Carling
Available in English and Spanish Editions
Download a hi-res jpeg of the book jacket.
Spanish edition: A Junior Library Guild Selectionsee the poster

Read a short interview with Pat and Libby about writing Bravo, Chico Canta! Bravo! on the Groundwood blog.

In this sweetly funny picture book, a tiny mouse, Chico Canta, saves his entire family from the clever kitten, Little Gato-Gato, when he uses his quick wits and ability to speak another language.

Chico Canta, the youngest of twelve, is a tiny, mischievous, fearless mouse who lives with his family in an old theater. They love to go upstairs to see the plays and echo the audience shouting, “Bravo, bravo!” as the curtain falls.

Mrs. Canta has her hands full trying to keep track of all her children, especially Chico Canta. She is always telling them, “Hurry! Hurry! ¡Pronto! ¡Pronto!” She speaks many languages — not only English, Spanish and Italian, but Spider, Cricket and Moth, as well. And she encourages her children to develop their own language skills. “Bilingual, bravo!” she is always telling them.

Pat and Libby

Lots of phone laughter as Libby and Pat worked on Bravo, Chico Canta! Bravo!

One evening, after a wonderful performance of The Three Little Pigs, the mouse family narrowly escapes Little Gato-Gato. But undaunted, and inspired by the production, they decide to mount their own version of the play. A frenzy of sewing costumes and building sets ensues under the direction of Mr. Canta, while Mrs. Canta oversees the cricket musicians, the spider stage crew, and the moths who will be the ushers. But on the night of the play itself, it is tiny Chico who is the star of the show when he spots Little Gato-Gato in the shadows, and uses his own special gift for languages to avert disaster.

Highlighted Reviews
"A little mouse’s foreign-language skills save his family from a cat in this mother-daughter debut…Carling’s illustrations capture the well-told story’s sweetly spirited tone…food for thought for monolingual mouselings—not to mention their parents and teachers."—Kirkus Reviews
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"The Cantas, who live in an old theater, love the performing arts and are proud of being bilingual. In fact, Mrs. Canta speaks Spanish, English, Italian, Cricket, Spider, and Moth. The story celebrates bilingualism and shows how having dual (or multilingual) language skills might just save the day."—School Library Journal
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"Chico Canta, the youngest of 12 mouse siblings, saves the day thanks to his ability to “speak” Dog, proving just how important being multilingual can be. The [mother]-daughter team of Mora and Martinez adapt their story from a Mexican folktale…Spanish and Italian words are scattered throughout, giving readers a chance to pick up new words themselves."—Publishers Weekly
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"Based on a Mexican American folktale, this entertaining cat-and-mouse story features Little Chico, the youngest of 12 offspring in the Canta mouse family. As his family prepares to put on a play…Little Gato-Gato, an orange tabby…threatens to put an end to the production and the actors. It is tiny Chico who saves the day by using his “bilingual” talent to frighten the cat away."—Booklist
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"This story is a celebration of diversity that invites audience participation and has great potential as a readers’ theater piece for the younger set."—Library Media Connection
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"[Chico is] the youngest in a family of twelve mice who live with their parents and community in a theatre. The mice pride themselves on their multilingualism, speaking English, Spanish, Italian, Moth, Cricket, and Firefly. Young Chico learns to speak Dog and saves their play and the day when a cat interrupts their new production. Mora and Martinez tell the story with charm and ease; Carling’s illustrations are bright and appealing…this is a truly wonderful new picturebook."—Bookbird
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"This is a story that reflects the experiences of children across the world growing up speaking a number of different languages, and the authors create a little character with whom readers can relate. The story’s pint-sized hero will also have strong appeal for small children who will revel in the ability of the littlest sibling to save the day."—CM Magazine