cover image Carina Felina

Carina Felina

Carmen Agra Deedy, illus. by Henry Cole. Scholastic Press, $19.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-3387-4916-8

A lovesick parrot seeking to woo an assertive cat kicks off this cumulative Caribbean retelling of a classic folktale. When Pepe the Parrot invites Carina Felina to his house, “certain that the way to her cattish heart was through her stomach,” she quickly springs through the window, devouring the crackers he has prepared and infuriating the lovesick bird. Agra Deedy introduces the casually imperious cat’s repeating refrain: “Why, I’m Carina Felina!... I eat what I wish./ Step out of my way,/ or be my next dish!” Having swallowed the parrot, the feline ventures into a market square, where encounters end with her devouring two lilies and a flower vendor, an oxcart man and his ox, and more, growing in size and self-satisfaction until a final food makes for just des(s)erts. Cole’s pencil-sketched and digital illustrations, which portray human characters with brown skin, lend an airbrushed quality to the folkloric proceedings. Back matter includes a recipe for Cuban crackers. Ages 4–8. (Aug.)