K-Gr 2In a classic cumulative tale, reminiscent ofWho Killed Cock Robin? (Creative Editions, 2004) or Señor Don Gato (Candlewick Press, 2003), the lovely Cucarachita Martina selects Ratoncito Perez as her husband. The choice, based on his sensitive answer to her question about how he’d sing to their offspring, overlooks the poor fellow’s lack of common sense and inability to follow directions. Though admonished to be careful about stirring the soup, the unfortunate rat falls right in. Martina sobs and carries on, causing a bird to be so affected that he takes off his beak. In response, a pigeon cuts off his tail feathers, saddening the village fountain that ceases to flow. Distressed by the dry fountain, the castle serving girl breaks her water jar. The king (who seems to be the only one with any sense) sheds his crown and runs for the doctor, who fishes the rat out of the soup and revives him, miraculously unboiled. The text, gently rhyming and always rhythmic, weaves the story seamlessly. Cuenca’s pen-and-ink and watercolor cartoons feature lighthearted zany characters and a beautiful, and quite elegant, cockroach. The subtle colors and judicious use of crosshatching add character and depth to the story. A sound addition to any collection of Spanish language folktales, this is also an appealing choice for bookstores.