Despite the meandering storyline, fans of the two previous slapstick adventures will eagerly welcome back Lupe and the...

LOWRIDERS BLAST FROM THE PAST

From the Lowriders series

The over-the-top lowriders Lupe, Elirio, and Flapjack are back with their gato, Genie.

This nostalgic journey back in time chronicles, in parallel stories, the moment the lives of the then escuincles—pipsqueaks—first intersected. They join together to help Lupe’s two mothers enter a car show, but Mamá Impala and Mamá Gazelle need the approval of the hosting car club. The bullies controlling the entire show, Los Matamoscas, make up arbitrary rules to keep the women out because everyone knows car clubs are for los machos. Lupe’s moms’ car must clear speed bumps without scraping, they must keep a 5-gallon jar of agua fresca from spilling while taking an entire lap, and any visible brush strokes on the paint job are grounds for disqualification. All is saved by Elirio’s pointy proboscis, Lupe’s quick thinking, and Flapjack’s slurping capacity. Raúl the Third’s signature style again frenetically populates the sepia pages with eye-catching detail that highlights lowrider humor and culture. Camper’s story, however, trips, snags, and hitches on too many densely worded moments of exposition. These asides, such as the recognition of Indigenous words in modern languages and the contributions of the art collective Asco, would have been more appropriately placed in the backmatter (where they are discussed again anyway) rather than in the middle of the narrative. Also, some scenes are unnecessarily drawn out, as in the case of the opening five and a half pages of gratuitous flatulence.

Despite the meandering storyline, fans of the two previous slapstick adventures will eagerly welcome back Lupe and the gang’s Spanish-infused exploits. (glossary, author’s notes, sources) (Graphic adventure. 9-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4521-6315-4

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2018

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Good Guys and Bad get just deserts in the end, and Stanley gets plenty of opportunities to display pluck and valor in this...

HOLES

Sentenced to a brutal juvenile detention camp for a crime he didn't commit, a wimpy teenager turns four generations of bad family luck around in this sunburnt tale of courage, obsession, and buried treasure from Sachar (Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger, 1995, etc.).

Driven mad by the murder of her black beau, a schoolteacher turns on the once-friendly, verdant town of Green Lake, Texas, becomes feared bandit Kissin' Kate Barlow, and dies, laughing, without revealing where she buried her stash. A century of rainless years later, lake and town are memories—but, with the involuntary help of gangs of juvenile offenders, the last descendant of the last residents is still digging. Enter Stanley Yelnats IV, great-grandson of one of Kissin' Kate's victims and the latest to fall to the family curse of being in the wrong place at the wrong time; under the direction of The Warden, a woman with rattlesnake venom polish on her long nails, Stanley and each of his fellow inmates dig a hole a day in the rock-hard lake bed. Weeks of punishing labor later, Stanley digs up a clue, but is canny enough to conceal the information of which hole it came from. Through flashbacks, Sachar weaves a complex net of hidden relationships and well-timed revelations as he puts his slightly larger-than-life characters under a sun so punishing that readers will be reaching for water bottles.

Good Guys and Bad get just deserts in the end, and Stanley gets plenty of opportunities to display pluck and valor in this rugged, engrossing adventure. (Fiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 978-0-374-33265-5

Page Count: 233

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2000

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An engrossing, humorous, and vitally important graphic novel that should be required reading in every middle school in...

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NEW KID

From the New Kid series , Vol. 1

Jordan Banks takes readers down the rabbit hole and into his mostly white prep school in this heartbreakingly accurate middle-grade tale of race, class, microaggressions, and the quest for self-identity.

He may be the new kid, but as an African-American boy from Washington Heights, that stigma entails so much more than getting lost on the way to homeroom. Riverdale Academy Day School, located at the opposite end of Manhattan, is a world away, and Jordan finds himself a stranger in a foreign land, where pink clothing is called salmon, white administrators mistake a veteran African-American teacher for the football coach, and white classmates ape African-American Vernacular English to make themselves sound cool. Jordan’s a gifted artist, and his drawings blend with the narrative to give readers a full sense of his two worlds and his methods of coping with existing in between. Craft skillfully employs the graphic-novel format to its full advantage, giving his readers a delightful and authentic cast of characters who, along with New York itself, pop off the page with vibrancy and nuance. Shrinking Jordan to ant-sized proportions upon his entering the school cafeteria, for instance, transforms the lunchroom into a grotesque Wonderland in which his lack of social standing becomes visually arresting and viscerally uncomfortable.

An engrossing, humorous, and vitally important graphic novel that should be required reading in every middle school in America. (Graphic fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-269120-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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