Saturday, November 29, 2014

Kid Konnection: Lowriders in Space

Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. This week, I'm going to share with you a wonderful graphic novel that's the first in a series.

Summary: Lupe Impala, El Chavo Flapjack, and Elirio Malaria love working with cars. You name it, they can fix it. But the team's favorite cars of all are lowriders—cars that hip and hop, dip and drop, go low and slow, bajito y suavecito. The stars align when a contest for the best car around offers a prize of a trunkful of cash—just what the team needs to open their own shop! ¡Ay chihuahua! What will it take to transform a junker into the best car in the universe? Striking, unparalleled art from debut illustrator Raul the Third recalls ballpoint-pen-and-Sharpie desk-drawn doodles, while the story is sketched with Spanish, inked with science facts, and colored with true friendship. With a glossary at the back to provide definitions for Spanish and science terms, this delightful book will educate and entertain in equal measure. -- Candlewick

LOWRIDERS IN SPACE by Cathy Camper and illustrated by Raul the Third is a very special graphic novel and unlike any book I've ever read. It's very entertaining and even a little crazy; however, I'm certain that kids will love it.

LOWRIDERS IN SPACE tells the story of three characters who love to fix cars. There's Lupe Impala, El Chavo Flapjack and Elirio Malaria; and between the three of them, they can fix, detail, and clean any car they come across although their preference is low-riders.

When a competition is held for the best car around and the prize is a trunkful of cash, the three definitely want to win so they can use the money to start their own repair shop. The three set out to repair an old Impala that's seen its better days, and each character uses their skills to fix up the car. When they use some rocket parts as part of the repair, the car is launched into space; and Lupe, El Chavo, and Elirio have a wild and crazy ride!

I am the first to admit that I haven't read many middle grade/young adult graphic novels; however, I feel that LOWRIDERS IN SPACE is something special... and very unique . First of all, the book is geared towards the 9-14 audience. As a mother to a 10 year old boy, many of the graphic novels are either too young or too old. That isn't the case with LOWRIDERS IN SPACE.

In addition, these characters and the plot are definitely unlike any I've ever encountered. All three characters all have their special skills (for example, Elirio is a mosquito who details cars!), and they use their talents to fix cars. As if that's not crazy enough, they end up in space when the rocket parts on the car malfunction (or maybe function properly?). Pretty darn unusual, don't you think?

Another wonderful thing about LOWRIDERS IN SPACE is that it is actually fun and educational. The book has many Spanish terms and a glossary explaining them in the back of the book. Also, the author explains the history of "lowriders" which was especially important for someone like me who had no idea why the even existed. I have to say that it really was very interesting!

And then there's the artwork. It's absolutely amazing! I only say this because I read it in the back of the book and in the description, but the artist uses red. blue, and black ball-point pens and Sharpies to make his sketches. They are extremely detailed and almost look a bit like graffiti. I loved them!

I was so excited that the publisher has included a Common Core Aligned teacher's guide on their website. I don't pretend to understand all of the common core curriculum, but this packet seems to cover all its bases. There are an explanation of graphic novels, some great discussion questions, writing prompts, and ideas for linking the common core standards with LOWRIDERS IN SPACE.

LOWRIDERS IN SPACE is terrific and I'm so glad it's the first book in a new series. Highly recommended!

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this book.

If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too!


Laura at Library of Clean Reads said...

I think it's important to have graphic novels for this age group. It can get reluctant readers to love reading. And kids love unusual!

ChaosIsAFriendOfMine said...

This sounds like a book my 10 year old son would love.

Kate Hannigan said...

My boys (10 and 12) devour graphic novels, and I've seen this title a few places now. So glad to read your take on it, because I will scoop it up. Sounds really fun!

bermudaonion said...

I'm sure Vance would have loved this when he was that age - it sounds terrific!

Tea said...

If I wanted to get involved with Kid Konnection, a friend told me to come here. I'm here. Thanks for having me. I see Saturday is the day? Thanx. See you later.