cover image Niño Wrestles the World

Niño Wrestles the World

Yuyi Morales. Roaring Brook/Porter, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-59643-604-6

Morales (Georgia in Hawaii) takes her theme from Mexican professional wrestling, and the resulting story is every bit as fun and campy as the theatrical fighting it’s based on. The stars of “lucha libre,” an afterword explains, wear masks that add to their mystery. Niño—“The Boy”—is ready for action in his red mask, sneakers, and underpants. The story rockets from cero to sesenta as Niño imagines taking on the scary demons and bad guys of Mexican lore and knocking them off, one after another, with his own trademark wrestling moves. He undoes the groaning Guanajuato Mummy with a Tickle Tackle, deceives the child-stealing Weeping Woman with decoy baby dolls, and is taken aback only by Las Hermanitas—his little sisters, who have just woken up from their nap. Truly eerie opponents, Spanish exclamations (“Zok!” “Pachatas!”), a bold design, and a lurid palette all contribute to the in-your-face style. Capsule profiles of the combatants on the endpages (Las Hermanitas’ battle cry is “Constant and loud”) only add to the entertainment. Vivan las luchas! Ages 4–8. Agent: Charlotte Sheedy Literary Agency. (June)