Camper’s lighthearted, full-color graphic novel highlights lowrider culture.
There is much that makes it stand out: Its theme is unique for this age group; Lupe Impala, the female protagonist, is a mechanic; and peppered throughout this crazy adventure are nifty factoids and colorful Chicano/Mexican-American slang. Lupe and her friends Elirio Malaria, the mosquito detailing artist (“Don’t be scared eses! Only lady mosquitos bite vatos for food!”), and El Chavo Blackjack, a bucket-dwelling octopus who’s an eight-armed, car-washing powerhouse, dream of one day owning their own garage. Spotting a poster for a car competition, they know the Golden Steering Wheel Award and a carload of cash are as good as theirs—if they can find a car. A field trip yields a junk pile on blocks—an Impala, natch—that “only” needs major, reconstructive body work, paint, an engine….Some serendipitous rocket parts launch the trio and their newly souped-up lowrider on a wild ride through space: “I don’t think we’re in the barrio anymore!” observes El Chavo Flapjack cheerily. Raúl the Third’s crosshatched, ballpoint-pen–and-Sharpie artwork is highly detailed and dynamic, its black, blue and red lines on buff-colored paper depicting a street corner aguas frescas pushcart and the lowrider’s hydraulic suspension system with equal verve. A glossary of Spanish, slang and astronomical terms is appended, as is a note about lowriders for readers not in the know.
A highly entertaining and culturally authentic romp. (Graphic adventure. 9-14)