Review: Lowriders in Space by Cathy Camper

lowriders in space

Lowriders in Space by Cathy Camper, illustrated by Raul the Third

Three friends, Lupe, El Chavo and Elirio, work together in a garage where they fix cars.  They dream of one day having their own garage.  Lupe loves working on engines and the mechanics.  El Chavo washes them until they shine with his octopus arms.  Elirio uses his mosquito size and his long nose to detail the cars.  Their favorite kind of car are the low and slow lowriders.  So when a contest with a large prize comes along, they know they have to enter.  Now they just have to turn a junker into the best car in the universe, so they head into space to see what they can do.  This is one unique read that combines space, cars and great friendship.

Camper incorporates Spanish into her story, firmly placing this book into the Hispanic culture.  Her characters are clever done.  The female in the group is the one who loves engines and mechanical things, yet is incredible feminine too.  The book seems to be firmly housed on earth until one big moment launches it into outer space.  The incorporation of astronomy into the design and art of the car makes for a book that is wild and great fun to read.

The illustrations by Raul Gonzalez have a cool hipness to them that is honest and without any slickness at all.  Done in a limited palette of red, blue and black, the art has a vintage feel that is enhanced by the treatment of the pages with stains and aging. 

This graphic novel is cool, star filled, rich with science, and has friendship at its heart.  Appropriate for ages 7-10.

Reviewed from copy received from Chronicle Books.

Red House Children’s Book Award Finalists

The shortlist for the Red House Children’s Book Award have been announced.  The Red House Children’s Book Award is the only national UK book prize that is voted on entirely by children.  It is divided into three age-specific categories.  Here is the shortlist:

 

YOUNGER CHILDREN

The Day the Crayons Quit Dragon Loves Penguin

The Day the Crayons Quit by Oliver Jeffers and Drew Daywalt

Dragon Loves Penguin by Debi Gliori (Published as Dragon’s Extraordinary Egg in the US)

Go to Sleep or I Let Loose the Leopard That Is Not a Good Idea!

Go to Sleep or I Let Loose the Leopard by Steve Cole and Bruce Ingman

That Is Not a Good Idea by Mo Willems

 

YOUNGER READERS

Baby Aliens Got My Teacher! The Bomber Dog Demon Dentist

Baby Aliens Got My Teacher by Pamela Butchart

The Bomber Dog by Mega Rix

Demon Dentist by David Walliams

 

OLDER READERS

Noble Conflict Prince of the Icemark (The Icemark Chronicles, #0.5) Split Second

Noble Conflict by Malorie Blackman

Prince of the Icemark by Stuart Hill

Split Second by Sophie McKenzie