- Craig Graziano
Niño is one remarkable little boy. He may look like an ordinary child playing with his toys. When he picks up his red mask though, Niño Wrestles the World.
Lucha libre, meaning "Free Wrestling," is native to Mexico. The wrestlers have masks and personas similar to superheroes, which lead to colorful costumes and exciting matches. When Niño puts his mask on, he's ready to take on all sorts of opponents from Mesoamerican culture.
Speaking of superheroes, Morales' illustrations are reminiscent of old episodes of Batman, with action words such as "ZOK" and" "WHUNK" practically jumping off of the page. The book also interchangeably mixes Spanish and English to create the most fun bilingual read I have seen.
Fair warning: some of Niño's opponents are slightly terrifying. The Guanajuato Mummy or the Devil are the two main offenders, but Morales uses them in such silly ways that such fright shouldn't last long. The mummy is stopped by a move called the Tickle Tackle! No matter who shows up, the tone of the book never sways from innocent fun.
While reading the book, you also get the feeling that each of Niño's opponents really is important to this vibrant culture, whether it is a giant Olmec head or an alien from Area 51.
Despite all of these challenging forces, the only opponents that truly give Niño a run for his money are his two little sisters. Will he be able to stop this tyke tag team? You'll have to read Niño Wrestles the World to find out!