La Mala Suerte Is Following Me

Charlesbridge. Mar. 2024. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781623544546.
K-Gr 2–A soccer star finds himself burdened by a streak of bad luck. “Mi vida es perfecta,” Miguel declares, until he makes the mistake of opening an umbrella indoors. His superstitious abuela, holding an evil-eye charm, warns his action will invite La Mala Suerte, “bad luck.” Miguel is overconfident and skeptical, until he trips, fails a test, and can’t manage to block any of his teammate’s goals during soccer practice. Defeated, the boy tries every remedy he can think of, from sweeping coarse salt out of the house, to searching for four-leaf clovers, and dousing himself in essential oils. Finally, his mother provides perspective, advising him to make his own luck. From there, Miguel vows to walk carefully to avoid falls, study for an upcoming exam in advance, and practice more ahead of his tournament. The digital illustrations portray La Mala Suerte as a smirking shadow, pooling under doorways or hiding behind bushes. The images depict Miguel’s emotions through his confidence crisis. Back matter includes a “More About Superstitions” section that lists common superstitions and origins in countries around the world (many of which are incorporated in the story) and activity suggestions. Miguel has tan skin, and Spanish words are sprinkled throughout.
VERDICT A humorous and unique discussion starter for similar superstitions and a worthy addition to picture book collections.

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