BOOK REVIEWS

Lowriders in Space (Book 1) Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-05-11 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 23 user ratings
ISBN:1452128693
LANGUAGE:English

"Let me be clear. I am 100 percent behind books that represent all of its readers. It should also be noted that my husband is of Mexican and Argentinian descent. I also recognize the importance that graphic novels play in enticing young readers to flip the pages. Lastly, as a proud Texan for over 35 years I have had the honor of teaching children from all walks of life; I was one of the first ESOL certified teachers in my school.

But-

I'm not a fan of Lowriders in Space:
1. There were two grammatically incorrect phrases in the book.
2. While I value the importance of explaining the rich language of the Hispanic culture, this book does not do it justice. In fact, I found it degrading and demoralizing.

Why this one was plucked to be a Bluebonnet for next year when there are plenty of other higher quality literature on the shelves is beyond me.

Given as a gift by a student at our book fair, I will place it on the shelves. Reluctantly.
" said.

"Our heroes are an unlikely trio of animals (an impala, an octopus, and a mosquito) who work at a garage. They love working on cars, but feel under-appreciated by their demanding boss. As luck would have it, there's a local competition for the best car, which offers a prize of a golden steering wheel and a car full of money. If the trio wins, they can use the money to open their own garage. So they get to work creating an out-of-this-world low rider -- and "out of this world" literally means "in outer space." Once Lupe Impala gets their car running, they take it for a spin through the galaxy to pick up some star-studded detailing -- the northern lights add shimmer, and constellations and asteroids add bling. There's a near-miss with a black hole before they finally make it back to their home planet, where they're just in time for the competition. Will all the star stuff be enough to win?

This is a really unusual book, both in terms of artwork and storyline. There's an author's note at the back that explains the significance of the low-rider in Mexican-American culture, which was helpful for those of us not super-familiar with cars. This cultural connection -- plus all the Spanish words -- make this a great book for promoting diversity.

The artwork was really unique -- the backgrounds all looked like coffee-stained journal pages, which I loved. All the illustrations are done in ink -- primarily neutral colors, with splashes of reds and blues. The muted background with the pops of color make for really eye-catching illustrations. Personally, I didn't find the story that compelling, but I would read subsequent volumes because I thought the illustrations were so good.

And just because the story wasn't quite my cup of tea doesn't mean anything -- there are lots of vehicle-obsessed kids who would really enjoy this story. Overall, it's a win!
" said.

"The graphic novel Low Riders in Space is a thrilling story that follows a basic rags-to-riches-or-glory plotline but does so through tough illustrations and strong dialogue that engages the reader. I have read other graphic novels with important themes and messages before, but the story of several working-class joes with a dream of achieving success through their skills, hard work, and teamwork was still very inspiring. As a native English speaker, I appreciated the translations and glossary the book provides for much of the Spanish dialogue. I felt that these text features helped celebrate the culture and language of the Spanish-speaking characters in this graphic novel while helping me to learn a few phrases, too. I believe both students who speak Spanish or who do not, as well as adult readers, would appreciate these text features because they help include the reader in the story while maintaining the authenticity of Spanish culture and language. I appreciated the underdogs in the story as protagonists and felt its inspiring message could inspire students or other readers facing challenges to use their own assets and work collaboratively with others to achieve success. I would highly recommend this text to other teachers. I would also recommend this text at an instructional level for students who are ready to comprehend the novel or have an interest in its subject matter, particularly through an interactive read-aloud.

I can think of a variety of ways I would use this novel as a teacher, however, through the lens of my experiences teaching Kindergarten - 2nd-grade so far this year, I can think of two practical uses of this graphic novel with my 2nd-grade students. 2nd-grade reading curriculum focuses often upon character traits and problem and solution in stories. I think the character traits of the animals in this text could be the start of many lessons about character description, for example, perhaps students could be asked to create a description for a new character they would like to see in this novel. I also think the story’s problems and the ways these characters overcome them could be portrayed by reading responses such as illustrations, watercolor painting, poems, letters, or other response forms by my 2nd-graders. I think the novel is complex and it would be best to read it aloud and stop to discuss important parts, even with 2nd-grade, to assist them with comprehension, but I definitely think the themes of perseverance and collaboration in this story could be understood by my students through the characters and the way they solve problems in this story.
" said.

" The artwork deserves 5 stars... the writing, on the other hand, was flat and uninteresting. " 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.

" Have you not read this yet?You are missing out on one of the year's most unique and wonderful graphic novels. Thank you Cathy Camper, Raul the Third and everyone between you and Chronicle who made this possible. I hope this Spanglish "out of this world" adventure rides it's way into the hands of young readers, especially those with SoCal and Mexican American roots. " said.

" This is really cute! Kinda like a less-overtly-educational (but still with some space facts! And Spanish vocabulary words!) Magic School Bus.I picked it up to maybe do it for a 4th grade readaloud and I think the pages are too dense with panels and footnotes to be a great readaloud; it's something that will reward kids for sitting down and digging in. " said.

June 2018 New Book:

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