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


by Luis Alberto Urrea & illustrated by Christopher Cardinale

Age Range: 13 & up

Pub Date: May 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-933693-23-1
Publisher: Cinco Puntos

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)