Thursday, March 24, 2016

‘Lowriders to the Center of the Earth’

Cover image: Lowriders to the Center of the Earth. The story's three man characters travel in a lowrider automobile through a cavern.
In Lowriders in Space (Chronicle Books, 2014), Lupe Impala, Elirio Malaria and El Chavo Flapjack Octopus achieved their dream of owning their own garage, where they could repair, detail and clean cars without having to answer to their tyrannical boss.

But the book’s closing page introduced a new crisis: their beloved cat Genie was gone. Now in Lowriders to the Center of the Earth (July 2016), the trio set out on a road trip in search of their missing cat.

Written by Cathy Camper and illustrated by Raúl the Third, this new graphic novel combines a storyline that many children can relate to — searching for a missing pet — with Aztec mythology and geological science. (Genie is being held prisoner by the Lord of the Underworld and as our heroes travel ever deeper toward the center of the earth, El Chavo Flapjack Octopus humorously scrambles the names for the various layers of rock.)

This series appealed to the graphic artist in me ever since I read an interview with illustrator Raúl the Third on the School Library Journal website. He illustrated the book with Bic pens to inspire future artists.

“Becoming an artist can feel daunting when all that one sees are finished and polished works of art created with expensive hard to get a hold of materials.” Instead, he wanted would-be artists to understand that they “don’t need anything other than their dreams and hard work.”

I later read a Book Doctors interview with author Cathy Camper, and her background as a librarian also resonates with me — especially her emphasis on children being able to “see themselves” in books.

“We need this book primarily so kids of color see themselves in books, but also so white culture isn’t always primary. If a book is about a generic kid, why is that kid always white? It’s important that white readers see kids of color too.”

Bottom line: these books appeal to me on a variety of levels. I think both volumes would be a great addition to the children’s collection at a library.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a review copy of this book from the publisher. The opinion expressed is my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

No comments:

Post a Comment

Robust debate and even unusual opinions are encouraged, but please stay on-topic and be respectful. Comments are subject to review for personal attacks or insults, discriminatory statements, hyperlinks not directly related to the discussion and commercial spam.