MR. MENDOZA’S PAINTBRUSH by Luis Alberto Urrea
Kirkus Star


Age Range: 13 & up
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The residents of the small Mexican town of El Rosario don’t quite know what to make of Mr. Mendoza and his omnipresent paintbrush. Is he merely a vandal, spreading snippets of esoteric nonsense around town with a few strokes of his brush? Or an overlooked philosopher who has explanations for life’s greatest mysteries? The self-described Mexican King of Graffiti, Mendoza spares no one the mischievous spitfire of his brush—neither El Rosario’s residents nor God Himself. When a series of unfortunate incidents befall the town—from the devastating storm that rains down corpses to the mine collapse that drags large swaths of town into a gaping abyss—Mendoza is there with paint-dripped commentary, urging residents to investigate the nature of life itself. Urrea’s delightful tale of morality and meaning is rendered masterfully by Cardinale’s boisterous illustrations, their bold outlines providing heft to the surrealism. This tale, in their steady hands, becomes a cheeky tour through elements of Latin pop culture: Hints of Romero’s horrors, Rivera’s aesthetics and García Márquez’s magical realism all make their appearance here. An enchanting exploration of life’s myriad mysteries. (Graphic fiction. 13 & up)

Pub Date: May 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-933693-23-1
Page count: 64pp
Publisher: Cinco Puntos
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2010


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Kirkus Interview
Luis Alberto Urrea
April 21, 2015

Examining the borders between one nation and another, between one person and another, Luis Alberto Urrea’s latest story collection, The Water Museum, reveals his mastery of the short form. This collection includes the Edgar-award winning "Amapola" and his now-classic "Bid Farewell to Her Many Horses," which had the honor of being chosen for NPR's "Selected Shorts" not once but twice. Urrea has also recently published a poetry collection, Tijuana Book of the Dead, mixing lyricism and colloquial voices, mysticism and the daily grind. We talk to Urrea about both of his new books this week on Kirkus TV. View video >


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