by Cathy Camper
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Text Difficulty:K - 2
About the Author-
- Cathy Camper is a librarian focusing on outreach to schools and children in grades K-12. She lives in Portland, Oregon.
- jeffdaboss - This graphic novel is great! I would recommend it specifically to young children who like the Babymouse series. Low Riders in Space sets place in Mexico where everyone is a comical-looking bug. Three people, Lupe, El Chavo, and Elirio, are mechanics at a car shop. They each have a special talent that makes them each outstanding. But they're tired of working for their grouchy boss, so they find someone else to work with: themselves! But their lack of money crushes their dream. But when a contest that ask for the best car comes up, and you win a CARLOAD of cash, these three besties are up to the challenge. They fix up a lowrider(their favorite type of car) and make it into something stellar. But they need their car to be GALACTIC if they want to win. So, with the rocket engines Lupe installs in the car, they go through space! From stars that shine to jumping moon dust, these three will definitely be one of the best. But will their's be the best. In overwhelming ovation, they are cheered as they win the contest. They get their carload of money, and build their shop! This book is really nice for any kid because it's a graphic novel, and the characters speak Spanglish, so there are translations.
Starred review from October 6, 2014
Camper’s (Bugs Before Time) rocket-powered graphic novel stars a deliciously improbable trio: Lupe Impala, a beautiful mechanic with a mane of black hair and a limitless supply of automobile knowledge; Flapjack Octopus, whose eight arms can detail a car to a high gleam; and Elirio Malaria, a shady-looking mosquito who uses his needlelike proboscis to pinstripe cars with fantastic accuracy. Raúl the Third’s dazzling art, done with red, black, and blue ballpoint pen, fuses the energy of Mexican folk images, the naked passion of tattoo art, and the antics of Saturday morning cartoons. Lupe and her sidekicks want to start a garage, but they don’t have enough money. They enter a car competition (first prize is “a carload of cash”), find a beater, and plot their strategy: “¡Y vamos a tener que echarle ganas, to clean it!” says Flapjack (Spanish translations are provided throughout). A wild journey through space gives their car one-of-a-kind galactic magic—readers will rejoice in their triumph. As a celebration of Latino lowrider culture, too, it’s estellar. Ages 8–12. Agent: Jennifer Laughran, Andrea Brown Literary Agency.
Starred review from October 15, 2014
Camper's lighthearted, full-color graphic novel highlights lowrider culture. There is much that makes it stand out: Its theme is unique for this age group; Lupe Impala, the female protagonist, is a mechanic; and peppered throughout this crazy adventure are nifty factoids and colorful Chicano/Mexican-American slang. Lupe and her friends Elirio Malaria, the mosquito detailing artist ("Don't be scared eses! Only lady mosquitos bite vatos for food!"), and El Chavo Blackjack, a bucket-dwelling octopus who's an eight-armed, car-washing powerhouse, dream of one day owning their own garage. Spotting a poster for a car competition, they know the Golden Steering Wheel Award and a carload of cash are as good as theirs-if they can find a car. A field trip yields a junk pile on blocks-an Impala, natch-that "only" needs major, reconstructive body work, paint, an engine....Some serendipitous rocket parts launch the trio and their newly souped-up lowrider on a wild ride through space: "I don't think we're in the barrio anymore!" observes El Chavo Flapjack cheerily. Raul the Third's crosshatched, ballpoint-pen-and-Sharpie artwork is highly detailed and dynamic, its black, blue and red lines on buff-colored paper depicting a street corner aguas frescas pushcart and the lowrider's hydraulic suspension system with equal verve. A glossary of Spanish, slang and astronomical terms is appended, as is a note about lowriders for readers not in the know. A highly entertaining and culturally authentic romp. (Graphic adventure. 9-14)
COPYRIGHT(2014) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
November 1, 2014
Gr 4-8-Camper introduces readers to Lupe Impala, Flapjack Octopus, and Elirio Malaria, three friends who love working with cars and dream of having their own garage shop. One day they see an opportunity to achieve their goal-a car competition where the prize is a "carload of cash and a solid gold steering wheel." When they start working on a lowrider to prepare it for the competition, an out-of-this world journey begins. Through anthropomorphic characters, the author narrates a tale of friendship, teamwork, and the passion for lowriding. She incorporates astronomy to this adventure, providing readers the opportunity to familiarize with terms from both worlds. Raul the Third's colored pencil-and-marker illustrations effectively depict images from the lowriding subculture, while including references from Mexican pop culture, such as the iconic comedian Cantiflas and Chespirito's El Chavo del Ocho. The way he alternates among full-page artwork, spreads, and non-rectangular panels works well with the story and strongly supports its visual understanding. However, although it is true that some Latinos code-switch in their conversation, the use of Spanish words didn't feel organic to the story. There is also inconsistency in the use of accents, and footnotes that point readers to phrases and word meanings are explained as "nonsense words in Spanish," when that's not necessarily the case. Lowriders in Space fills a gap of Latino graphic novels for kids, and its quirky characters and illustrations have the potential to engage children. Let's hope that future installments will have a more accurate and natural use of Spanish. A helpful glossary of astronomy and lowriding terms is appended.-Sujei Lugo, Somerville Public Library, MA
Copyright 2014 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
PublisherChronicle Books LLC
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