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|Lowriders to the center of the Earth|
Author: Camper, Cathy
Lupe Impala, Elirio Malaria, and El Chavo Octopus are now the proud owners of their own garage--but when a series of earthquakes hit their town and Genie, their beloved cat, disappears they find themselves traveling to the realm of Mictlantecuhtli, Aztec god of the Underworld, who is keeping Genie prisoner.
Lowriders, Bk. 2
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 2.80
Points: 1.0 Quiz: 187218
School Library Journal (06/01/16)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (07/16)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 06/01/2016 Gr 4–8—Lupe, Elirio, and Flapjack—an impala, a mosquito, and an octopus—work in a garage, repairing and detailing cars. When they discover their cat, Genie, is missing, they follow his tracks to a corn maze that turns out to be a trap used by the Aztec god Mictlantecuhtli to steal the skeletons of wayfarers. Can the trio challenge him in the underworld, rescue their pet, and return safely home? The artwork is intricate but accessible; the textures and colors invite imitation. The storytelling is inventive, juggling cultural references, surreal circumstances, and educational impulses. As in the previous volume, Lowriders in Space, the dialogue combines Spanish and English slang, with frequent footnotes and definitions for the Spanish terms. This reinforces a narrative distance created by the flat affect of the characters and the woodenness of the included vocabulary. Perhaps the book is trying to do too much, incorporating lucha libre, mythology, Day of the Dead imagery, fanciful geology lessons, and multilingual puns all into one narrative. Or perhaps readers just need to go along for the ride, bajito y suavecito. VERDICT A jumble of creative ambition, the compelling visuals and scattershot storytelling will appeal to those not distracted by the roller-coaster plotting and jagged, more-is-more approach. Purchase where the first installment is popular.—Benjamin Russell, Belmont High School, NH - Copyright 2016 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 07/01/2016 It’s such a treat when incredible illustrations, buoyant text, and well-researched cultural references all come together in one book, and Cathy Camper and illustrator Raúl the Third have done it twice now, first with with Lowriders in Space (BCCB 1/15) and now with Lowriders to the Center of the Earth. This second outing sparkles with the same mix of zippy bilingual dialogue, cool car references, and visual surprises that made the first graphic novel so impressive. Antelope Lupe is the mechanic, Flappy, the octopus, cleans everything, and Elirio paints with his mosquito bill, and in the last outing they finally (after a brief jaunt into space) achieved their dream of a garage of their own to work on those sweet, sweet lowriders. Now they’re reaping the benefits of their new garage, at least until their missing cat sends them off on a remarkable adventure to the center of the earth. There they encounter the legendary Mictlantecuhtli, the Aztec god of the underworld, who says they can have their cat back—if they make it through the Wind of Knives, which strips people to their bones so they can stay in the realm of the dead as skeletons. It’s a challenge that pushes Lupe, Flappy, and Elirio to their limits, but, of course, they ultimately emerge triumphant. It’s impossible to overstate the impact that the artwork has in this book—it elevates everything while also remaining accessible. The artist’s low-tech approach to drawing (three colors of pens applied to a creamy, off-white background) reminds readers that it isn’t necessary to have expensive art software to produce brilliance. The spirited linework is detailed but never crowded, with intricate backgrounds contrasting with the high-action, speech-balloon-rich foregrounds. Panels change size according to the drama needed, occasionally giving way to full-page spreads that invite readers to stay a while and soak in the rich details, many of which don’t even pop up in the dialogue. The result is undeniably edgy and hip but also warm and welcoming, matching both the high-energy adventure and cozy “we make our own families” message of the text. The book offers both footnote translations and an extensive glossary in the back of the generous Spanish. It’s clear throughout that bilingual is the name of the game here and that these are characters who live their lives straddling Spanish and English, and many readers will be able to relate to the imperfect, complex, and entirely authentic blending of two cultures, languages, and identities. The inclusion of Coyote, La Llorona, and Mictlantecuhtli, easily identifiable characters to readers familiar with Latino culture, will likely spark some research on the part of readers who don’t know these references; what they’ll find will add depth to the story, but Camper effectively introduces enough context so that they stand alone. As in the last book, the real point is the fun of traveling with Lupe and her gang; there may be characters with more worldly goods, but it’s the ones with community who succeed in the end. It’s a nice takeaway, as is the secondary message about cleverness and determination trumping might and brute strength. Indeed, these are solidly uplifting graphic novels that still offer plenty of comedy, adventure, information, and magnificent art. One can only hope another outing comes along soon. (See p. 568 for publication information.) April Spisak, Reviewer - Copyright 2016 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.