Not a Monster
Claudia Guadalupe Martinez, author
Claudia Guadalupe Martínez grew up in sunny El Paso, Texas where she learned that letters form words from reading the subtitles of old westerns with her father. She now lives with her husband and 3 children in Chicago.
Read more about Claudia.
Laura Gonzalez, illustrator
Read more about Laura.
- Coming soon!
Kirkus Reviews, starred review
Deep in a murky, azul-tinged body of water, the axolotl swims under the cover of the moon.
Along a canal near an unspecified city “that was once a great empire,” an egg grows and transforms; the creature inside gains fins, gills, and a bit more before it hatches into a tadpole. Four long limbs soon sprout, and the creature’s color deepens into an inky black. It scours for food beneath “los lirios rosados” (pink water lilies), resting under a floating garden. The creature is “Not a Monster”—it’s an axolotl. Martínez devotes the first half of the book to chronicling the axolotl’s life journey—from birth to mating—in eclectic, whimsical strokes, egged on by González’s sublime, earthy artwork. It’s a tenderhearted ode to the water-based salamander. From there, the axolotl’s tale pivots to spotlight the creature’s connection to Xolotl, the Aztec god of monstrous things, said to have leapt into a lake and turned into an axolotl. “Guided by the stories their abuelos have told them,” two friends “row their chalupa morada” into the canals, spearheading cleanup efforts to remove plastic and bottles from the water. The author brilliantly positions the restoration of the endangered axolotl’s natural habitats as a kind of modern rebirth infused with hope. Spanish words pop up throughout this sly call to action, and color words are bolded; definitions are provided in a glossary.
Rejoice and rally for the axolotl! (author’s note)
Page count: 32
11 x 8 1/2