cover image Training Day (El Toro and Friends)

Training Day (El Toro and Friends)

Raúl the Third. Versify, $9.99 (56p) ISBN 978-0-358-38038-2

Pura Belpré Medalist Raúl the Third expands the ¡Vamos! universe in this jaunty spin-off series opener following the luchador El Toro and his friends. In this installment, rooster and unrelenting luchador trainer Kooky Dooky endeavors to motivate a lethargic El Toro to prepare for his match against The Wall, a powerfully built wrestler “made out of bricks” and “undefeated champion of the world.” Sporting a nightcap and comfortably burrowed underneath star-patterned blankets, El Toro gives excuse after excuse, in English and Spanish, to avoid training (“I’m tired. Estoy cansado”), but the sprightly Kooky Dooky remains undeterred (“You are not tired. You slept for eight hours!”). The action picks up once Kooky Dooky persuades El Toro to try a training regimen—readers are treated to a montage of El Toro performing a series of increasingly hilarious tasks (e.g., hitting “the Spiked Piñatas of DOOM!”). As in the World of ¡Vamos! books, the creator, alongside colorist Elaine Bay, utilizes comics-style layouts and an eye-catching, lightly faded color palette. Though the big match-up between El Toro and The Wall feels truncated, lively banter and humorous illustrations make for an absorbing early reader. Publishing simultaneously: Tag Team (El Toro and Friends). Ages 4–7. [em](Apr.) [/em]