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by Yuyi Morales ; illustrated by Yuyi Morales

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: June 11th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-59643-604-6
Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Little luchador Niño battles out-of-this-world opponents one by one until he finally meets his match.

Niño has a big imagination and a love of lucha libre, the popular Mexican masked wrestling. While his sisters nap, he becomes an impressive luchador, facing competitors often drawn from Mexican history and folklore. The text, unfolding as if by a commentator calling the action, begs to be read aloud. Challengers are vanquished not by violence but by gentle horseplay and clever wit—until Niño meets Las Hermanitas, awake from their naps, and must quickly devise a new strategy to take on such crafty adversaries. A multiple Pura Belpré medal winner, Morales’ (Just in Case, 2008, etc.) style of illustration continues to evolve with this title. She uses a graphic approach reminiscent of a comic book, with speech bubbles and sound effects, a smart choice for moving along the action of the plot. This design will appeal to children who may struggle to find picture books that match their interests and energy level, especially boys. Trading-card–style introductions to each opponent on the endpapers include pronunciation guidance for Spanish names. Occasional challenges with text placement and page flow keep this title from being flawless, but young readers will be so engrossed with this humorous story that these issues are easy to overlook.

Sure to be a smash. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-8)