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.
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.
Amelia Lau Carling’s charming illustrations show the pleasures, fears, antics and glories of Chico Canta and his family, all against the backdrop of the elegant old theater.
A note from author Pat Mora describes how she and her daughter Libby were inspired to write this story together after she read the kernel of this bilingual joke in a book of Mexican American folktales.