Books by Orlando L. Ramírez

Released: July 1, 2009

Entertainer Marin returns with another tired tale about his bus-driving alter ego (Cheech the School Bus Driver, 2007, etc.). This time he runs afoul of a group of ghost children who get on at an unplanned stop and then refuse to get off, ultimately hijacking it to their own ghost school, where they are reunited with their own ghost bus driver. In between, Cheech tries to get his Cheecharrones to scare the ghosts off, but the living children quickly recognize that the ghost children are a lot of fun. Ramírez supplies bright, cartoony illustrations that depict energetic if washed-out ghosts who are indeed a lot more fun than the rule-spouting, ineffectual Cheech. This nonstarter of a story should, but probably won't, spell the end of Marin's picture-book career. Yawnnnn. (Picture book. 5-8)Read full book review >
CAPTAIN CHEECH by Cheech Marin
Released: July 1, 2008

Trite and self-serving as it was, comedian Marin's first literary effort for young readers, Cheech the School Bus Driver (2007), at least carried a worthy Lesson; this sequel promotes winning through cheating. When his young passengers convert his school bus into a motorboat in order to race the (unmotorized) sailboat of classmate Vanessa, he eagerly joins in the fun. A sloshy ride and many encounters with sea life later, Cheech sees that the competitors are about to pull into the lead, and so snaps out the bus's retractable "STOP" sign—which, of course, prevents Vanessa and crew from passing. Vanessa graciously concedes: "When I grow up, I want to be a bus driver just so I can have one of those stop signs. Then I'll win all the races!" Putting the celebrity narrator, mouth agape beneath a bushy mustache, at the visual center of most scenes, Ramírez gives his cartoon figures oversized heads and eyes, along with a drastically limited range of expressions. The winning blurb photo's not going to be enough to sell this. (Picture book. 6-8)Read full book review >
Released: July 1, 2007

Celebrity-penned picture books don't generally inspire much enthusiasm among young listeners. Although the "authors" may be well known to adults, children care more about content. And in many cases, talent in one field doesn't necessarily imply ability in another. There are exceptions, of course, but unfortunately this rambling first-person narrative won't be one of them. Obviously intended to cash in on both the author's comedy routines and the popularity of books that build self-esteem and celebrate diversity, the overly long text fails to entertain or enlighten. The plot is predictable: A mariachi band made up of school children enters a Battle of the Bands, flirts with changing their presentation to resemble the competing rock bands but ultimately decides to stick to their own style. They win, of course. The cartoon-style illustrations are appealing though somewhat static. Outlandish outfits and exaggerated expressions add humor, but the pictures aren't engaging enough to make up for the forgettable text. Well meant, perhaps, but sadly not "groovanova." (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >