Niño Wrestles the World
by Yuyi Morales; illus. by the author
Preschool, Primary Porter/Roaring Brook 40 pp.
6/13 978-1-59643-604-6 $16.99 g
Pint-sized Niño, fearless luchador, Popsicle enthusiast, and reluctantly attentive big brother, dons his red mask (he’s already wearing his orange and yellow sneakers and blue-waistbanded tighty-whities), ready to take on all comers. He battles a series of formidable imagined foes from Mexican history and popular culture, each announced with poster-ready typeface, before facing the trickiest of opponents, las hermanitas! Working in a digital collage that includes watercolor, block print, and photography, Morales packs every polychromatic double-page spread with action, trying, not quite successfully, to contain Niño’s energy within their frames. The saturated palette, dynamic composition, and copious spike-ballooned sound effects add ebullient visual noise. Beneath the furious fun, though, beats a tender heart. Niño’s baby sisters obviously love him to bits, and he is powerless to resist them. In the end, the three join forces, and los tres hermanos are an undeniably unbeatable team. The endpapers, featuring program-style profiles of Niño and all of his competitors, and a final note about lucha libre round out this irresistible outing.