Lowriders Blast from the Past by Cathy Camper, illustrated by Raúl the Third, 123 pp, RL 4

Lowriders Blast from the Past
written by Cathy Camper
illustrated by Raúl the Third
Review Copy from Chronicle Books
Lowriders Blast from the Past begins with the epic question, "What do you need to form a lowrider car club that will change the world?" As if that was not a big enough challenge for this phenomenal third Lowriders book, Camper and Raúl the Third layer the plot with a thread about indigenous words, another about Asco, the East Los Angeles art collective, another about the (probably extinct) Ivory-Billed Woodpeckers who work for Lupe's mother in secret, creating magnificent papel picado banners and a thread about gender discrimination. Happily, Camper provides thorough author's notes at the end of the book educating readers further on these subjects. And, as always, Spanish words more than pepper the text, giving it some extra spice.
Lowriders Blast from the Past gives readers a glimpse into the childhoods of Lupe Impala, Elirio Malaria, the mosquito, and El Chavo Flapjack Octopus de Mar, also know as Flappy. When Elirio's father returns from his world travels with a notebook filled with indigenous words, the young mosquito is inspired to create his first mural, which features a kangaroo. Sadly, Los Matamoscas (the Flyswatters) quickly vandalize it. Flappy, pretending his bike is a lowrider, one of his favorite pastimes, has his bicycle destroyed when he rolls past Los Matamoscas. Lupe is there for both of them. She inspires Elirio to keep creating murals, telling him about murals by real life artists, Gamboa, Gronk and Herrón, with images from the works of Asco recreated in the graphic novel. Taking Elirio and Flappy to her home next to the junk yard her mother owns, she engineers an amazing new lowrider bike for Flappy. When the new friends accompany Lupe's mom in her awesome lowrider that she plans to enter into Señor Bufolardo's car show, things don't go well. Lupe's mom is given a series of made up challenges to pass before she can enter and, what's worse, Los Matamoscas cover the car in green goop. Of course, Lupe, Elirio and Flappy persevere, artistically, mechanically and socially. Not only is there a happy ending, but the Lowriders even encourage and inspire Los Matamoscas to create a mural of their own using indigenous words!

Lowriders Blast from the Past is truly amazing, from Camper's rich plot to Raúl the Third's phenomenal illustrations. I loved the trip to the center of the earth, where La Llorona and El Chupacabra made hilarious guest appearances. Somehow, even without a fantastic trip into outer space and a suspenseful trip into a mythical world, staying right at home in this third book and seeing how the friends came together feels like the most magical story Camper and Raúl the Third have told yet!

Don't Miss Books 1 & 2!

Coming in 2019!!

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