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Chato's Kitchen
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About the Author

Born in Fresno, California to Mexican American parents, Gary Soto learned the hard work ethic through his share of chores, including mowing lawns, picking grapes, painting house numbers on street curbs, and washing cars. His hard work paid off at California State University at Fresno, from which he graduated with an English degree, and later at the University of California at Irvine, where he earned a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.

Gary Soto is an acclaimed poet, essayist, and fiction writer. The awards for this multi-talented author are many, ranging from the U.S. Award for International Poetry Forum in 1977 for his first published book of poetry, The Elements of San Joaquin, to a Before Columbus Foundation American Book Award in 1985 for Living Up the Street, his first published work of prose recollections. His short story collection Baseball in April, was named an American Library Association's Best Book for Young Adults, and he received the Bura Belpre Award for Chato's Kitchen. IHe has also received the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Children's Video for Pool Party, and was nominated for a National Book Award. His other credits include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the California Arts Council. Gary Soto is also one of the youngest poets to appear in the Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry. Several of his books have been translated into French, Spanish and Italian. Mr. Soto currently lives in Berkeley, California.

Reviews

Soto (Too Many Tamales) commands a poet's gift for defining characters quickly, densely and, in this case, with hilariously choice words. Paired with Guevara's (The Boardwalk Princess) wickedly funny, urban paints, Soto's story of Chato, a cool, ``low-riding cat'' of East Los Angeles, is a scream. Chato and his friend Novio Boy plan a dinner for (and, they hope, of) the new mice next door. But the mice bring a surprise guest named Chorizo (sausage), who turns out to be a truly low-riding dachshund. Foiled, the cats resign themselves to mouseless fajitas. It's a basic enough tale, but close to brilliant in its execution. Guevara's cats are delicious send-ups of barrio characters, and Soto's words glisten with wit: ``We brought Chorizo,' Mami mouse called./ Sausage! Chato and Novio Boy danced, and with clean paws they gave each other a `low-four.'" Salud to this magical pairing of talents. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)

"A really cool book. . . . Soto adeptly captures the flavor of life in el barrio in this amusing tale. Guevara's striking illustrations enrich the text with delightful, witty details." --School Library Journal starred review

"Fresh and satisfying. . . Distinctly seasoned with the sights and sounds of East Los Angeles; the sprinkling of Spanish words and phrases adds the perfect flavor." --Horn Book Winner of the Pura Belpre Award for Illustration
An ALA Notable Book
A Parents' Choice Award Winner "Wickedly funny. . . . Guevara's cats are delicious send-ups of barrio characters, and Soto's words glisten with wit. Salud to this magical pairing of talents." --Publishers Weekly starred review

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