May 2, 2016
Lowriders in Space by Cathy Camper, illustrated by Raul the Third
Lowriders in Space
by Cathy Camper
illustrated by Raul the Third
Book One in this series introduces young readers to Lupe Impala, El Chavo Flapjack the Octopus, and Elirio Malaria, a trio of anthropomorphic characters who are passionate about lowriders and dream of having their own garage. When they hear about a car contest, they see their chance to make it happen. After all, the prize is a gold steering wheel and a car load of cash.
Spotting an opportunity only solves one problem. First they have to find a car and they locate a junker but need to find the parts to fix it up. Fortunately, they find some unclaimed boxes at an abandoned rocket factory and get to work on their lowrider. Fixing up the car is just the beginning.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I saw the title. Obviously, lowriders feature but in such a way that readers who don’t know what a lowrider is will still be pulled into the story.
I was thrilled at the amount of Mexican-American culture and the fact that the illustrator grew up in El Paso-Juarez. Readers will want to spend some serious time with his art work which is colored pencil and marker. His use of full page spreads and panels of various sizes and shapes keeps the story moving along.
In addition to the cultural aspect, the story is also strongly flavored with astronomy terms as the characters blast into space in their rockets enhanced low rider. The story is vaguely “Magic School Bus” although it isn’t nearly as sciency as the original.
I would definitely recommend this for middle schoolers whether or not they are into going bajito y suavecito (low and slow).