This is Louie Chin’s first picture book that he both authored and illustrated and I was delighted by every part of it. His art is eye-catching, colorful, and bright and his lines are giving me comic book vibes (which is incredibly appealing to me). It follows Chip’s story. Chip is a cat and is the undisputed boss of the bodega. Meet his family and the community he serves and loves in Bodega Cat.
I remember shopping at bodegas in my neighborhood growing up in Long Island. They sold a little bit of everything and had all the goodies a little kid could want but what I enjoyed the most were the breakfast sandwiches. Forget about McDonald’s. From our deli, I would get a fried egg and cheese sandwich. My cousins too, and I would always be grossed out when they would ask for ketchup on theirs. When I moved to Buffalo, NY, we had some small grocery stores in the neighborhood but my favorite spot was Pee Wee’s. I honestly don’t even remember the actual name of this corner store but I do know that we called the man behind the candy counter Pee Wee, thereby making the store Pee Wee’s. Makes sense, right?
I think the trip down memory lane that Bodega Cat gave me is a big part of why I enjoyed this book so much but when I think about the kids who don’t have this staple in their neighborhoods, I think that this story is for them too because no matter the amenities we enjoy in our community’s, we can learn a little something from everyone beyond our own blocks. In fact, our 2d grade classrooms are in the middle of learning about communities, their own and others and this would make a good addition to their unit. Did you have a bodega in your neighborhood too? Or any other Mom & Pop spot that sparks fond memories?
Louie Chin (Author & Illustrator) | http://www.louiechin.com/
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Borrowed from the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library