The ‘jicotea’ is a type of turtle no more than a foot long, very abundant in rivers and lagoons. Its meat is highly priced, and has the peculiarity of throbbing after being cut into pieces. (Lexicografía antillana, Alfredo Zayas, 1931)

This is the name also given to toes when they stick out a hole in one’s shoe. Because the toe that peaks out resembles the head of a jicotea or turtle when it comes out of its shell. (Un catauro de cubanismos, Fernando Ortiz, 1923)


With these definitions, who would think of choosing such a name for a collection of Media Vaca books? Strange as it may seem, this is the only possible title. In truth, the books intended for this collection —which are not all that many— could have appeared for their content in Books for Children; for their sense of humour in Last Readings; for their size in Big and Small; and, of course, in Out of Collection.

The word traces back to Cuba, and the collection complies with this geographical condition, as did its younger sister, 1/2 Vaca Cubana (Cuban 1/2 Cow). But it sticks out like a sore toe from what we’ve published until now, because it dips into music, and adds to the reading of the images and texts. Although not all books from the collection include one, some contain those archaic objects called CDs. CD-books are probably as uncommon as they are appreciated by those of us who flee from algorithms and adore mathematics.

A beating effort to make the intangible corporeal and fixed.


Drawing by Marta Pina