Lowriders in Space (Book 1) Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2017-05-12 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 23 user ratings

"3.5, rounding up for the utter uniqueness. So much to love about this one: Raul the Third's fantastic, eye-popping illustrations--all done with red, black, and blue ballpoint pens; the character of Lupe Impala, gal mechanic extraordinaire, who took apart a jungle gym as a kid and reassembled it into a "more interesante" shape; Cathy Camper's language ("When he polished a car, he spun over the paint job like an eight-pointed ninja star flying through the night") and Spanglish ("bajito y suavecito, low and slow"). Our 3 talented protagonists want to open a garage of their own, are low on dinero, and see a contest to design "the most mechanically inventive, exquisitely detailed cosmic car." Foraging for parts in an airplane graveyard, they build a lowrider that takes them into space, where they collect all kinds of cosmic glitter with which to trick out their car. Naturally, they win the contest.

What I missed here was enough story--enough suspense--something. Once our heroes enter space, the lovingly detailed character and world-building that happens before seems to dissolve into a random, tension-less free-for-all (they pick up this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and this to decorate the car). A black hole thrown in is supposed to but doesn't add suspense. And there's an unnecessary, not-funny fart joke. I left the book with a feeling of disappointment that the last two thirds didn't uphold the awesomeness of the first.

" said.

"This was such a fun book! The story was clever, the characters are charming and funny. There was even a fart joke. This is the book for kids who loved cars when they were little and haven’t quite lost that interest. It is so the marriage of what would traditionally be a hobby for older teens and adults to the creativity and fantasy of elementary school kids. In terms of reading level and overall length I would say this is best of upper elementary, but definitely has appeal into middle school.

When Lupe, Elirio and Chavo blast off into space on accident after souping up their old jalopy, they finish the job of detailing the car. They collect stars and rings from Saturn. They use moon rocks to enhance the hydraulics. It’s all just really clever. They make it back from space just in time to enter the car in a galactic car contest where they can win enough money to open their own garage.

The art is also amazing. It’s done with Bic pens and Sharpies and looks like the doodles you would see in notebooks and binders of kids. How Raul Gonzalez managed to do this without smudging the heck out of it all I don’t know, but it’s very impressive. I also like that this feels like art a kid could do. Obviously they won’t have the skill of a professional, but I could see some sixth grader looking at this book and looking at their notebooks and thinking, I could do that!

I read the ARC so I wasn’t able to see it in it’s full glory (the pictures were in black and white) and there were a couple quirky things that I’m hoping they’ll fix between now and the actual publication. Well worth the read, though.
" said.

"Camper, Cathy Lowriders in Space, illustrated by Raul the Third GRAPHIC NOVEL. Chronicle Books, 2014. $9.99 Content: G.

Lupe Impala, Flapjack Octopus, and Eli Rio Malaria (a mosquito) love working with cars. They want to turn an old junkyard car into a lowrider that is great enough to win the big car competition. So, using some parts they found at the old airplane factory, they made the coolest car, which rocketed into space. Picking up detailing from the northern lights, mars the moon and outer space, made their low rider positively the best.

With illustration like an old newspaper comic page (of red, black and blue) the feel of this graphic novel is the 1940’s. The dialogue is peppered with Spanish phrases (translated at the bottom of the page) and there is an author’s note at the end to tell the reader more about low riders. I think my Spanish speaking students will love this!

EL, MS - ADVISABLE Lisa Librarian
" said.

"Lowriders in Space is the story of three friends, Lupe Impala (a dog), Elirio Malaria (a mosquito), and El Chavo Flapjack (an octopus). These three characters share a love of lowrider cars. Each of them is good at an aspect of fixing or detailing cars. They spend their days working in an auto body shop and dreaming of owning their own place. When there is a contest to to create the best car in the neighborhood the trio decide to take on the challenge. Winning would mean enough prize money to open their own auto body shop.

While fixing up the car they take a trip through the galaxy and "supe" up their ride with unique elements and things from different planets. The former planet Pluto even makes an appearance as the shifter in the new low-rider. The contest is starting and they return to earth just in time to win it all! The book is written in English but includes Spanish words which are translated at the bottoms of each page.

One of the most interesting things about this graphic novel are the illustrations. Raul The Third writes in his illustrator's note that he has always has a love of drawing with ballpoint pens. The entire book is impressively drawn with red, blue and black ballpoint pens. The detailed scenes really accentuate travel through space.
" said.

" Cute book I found in the children's section of the library; I can see kids going wild over this book. " said.

" I loved the artwork in this book. I also liked the combination of Mexican American culture with sci-fi. What a fun, new story! Can't wait for more! " said.

" Kids who love cars, imaginative tales, and funny books will enjoy this. Bonus: some Spanish words and phrases included. " said.

" I just loved this!! Clever and gorgeous! " said.

July 2017 New Book:

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