Lowriders to the Center of the Earth

illus. by Raúl the Third. 128p. (Lowriders: Bk. 2). glossary. Chronicle. Jul. 2016. Tr $22.99. ISBN 9781452123431; pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781452138367.
Gr 4–8—Lupe, Elirio, and Flapjack—an impala, a mosquito, and an octopus—work in a garage, repairing and detailing cars. When they discover their cat, Genie, is missing, they follow his tracks to a corn maze that turns out to be a trap used by the Aztec god Mictlantecuhtli to steal the skeletons of wayfarers. Can the trio challenge him in the underworld, rescue their pet, and return safely home? The artwork is intricate but accessible; the textures and colors invite imitation. The storytelling is inventive, juggling cultural references, surreal circumstances, and educational impulses. As in the previous volume, Lowriders in Space, the dialogue combines Spanish and English slang, with frequent footnotes and definitions for the Spanish terms. This reinforces a narrative distance created by the flat affect of the characters and the woodenness of the included vocabulary. Perhaps the book is trying to do too much, incorporating lucha libre, mythology, Day of the Dead imagery, fanciful geology lessons, and multilingual puns all into one narrative. Or perhaps readers just need to go along for the ride, bajito y suavecito.
VERDICT A jumble of creative ambition, the compelling visuals and scattershot storytelling will appeal to those not distracted by the roller-coaster plotting and jagged, more-is-more approach. Purchase where the first installment is popular.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing