THE CAT'S MEOW by Gary Soto


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Mexican-American third-grader Graciela has more reason than most to complain that her parents don't understand her. Her mother and father expect appropriate answers to their questions but wildly misconstrue nearly everything she says. Either they're hard of hearing or as Pip, the Spanish-speaking family cat dubs them, just plain raro (weird). The joke is supposed to be that they're too silly to be told of Pip's new talent for speech. There's a very slight mystery about who taught Pip to talk and how, but most of the slender plot revolves around an endless series of unsatisfying exchanges: "" 'Mom, Sr. Medina taught Pip Spanish.' 'Great, I'll tell Eva's mother about going swimming.' "" Graciela, all but unable to hold a two-way conversation in any language, seems alone in the world; Soto (Canto Familiar, p. 1502, etc.) strives for zaniness but it falls frustratingly flat. The Spanish dialogue in the main text appears in translation in footnotes.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0590470027
Page count: 78pp
Publisher: Scholastic