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Reviewed by:
  • Tag Team by Raúl the Third, and: Training Day by Raúl the Third
  • Elizabeth Bush
Raúl the Third Tag Team; written and illus. by Raúl the Third; colors by Elaine Bay. Versify, 2021 [56p] (El Toro & Friends)
Trade ed. ISBN 9780358380399 $9.99
E-book ed. ISBN 9780358393726 $6.99
Reviewed from digital galleys R* Gr. K-3
Training Day; written and illus. by Raúl the Third; colors by Elaine Bay. Versify, 2021 [56p] (El Toro & Friends)
Trade ed. ISBN 9780358380382 $9.99
E-book ed. ISBN 9780358392651 $6.99
Reviewed from digital galleys R* Gr. K-3

Luchador El Toro, whom author/illustrator Raúl the Third has previously featured [End Page 312] in cameo roles, steps into the lead in these debut titles of the El Toro & Friends easy reader series, which focuses on good (or improved, at least) behavior among the primary school set. In Tag Team, El Toro and fellow luchadora La Oink Oink are faced with cleaning El Coliseo, trashed by the audience at the previous night’s match, minus the aid of unreliable helpers who call in sick from the beach. De nada. If anybody knows how to tag team, it’s Toro and Oink, who combine whirlwind efforts to return El Coliseo to order. Even luchadores vying for world champion have bouts of laziness, and in Training Day El Toro’s trainer, an insightful rooster, finally lures him out of bed and into a daily run through town, where the accolades of his fans give him the boost he needs to get his discipline in gear. The pointed messages are springboards to a more potent agenda: providing bilingual and bilingual-wannabe audiences with easy reader materials that reflect and promote conversational and reading flexibility. Signage and dialogue appear in Spanish, or English, or both; dialogue uses purple type for Spanish and black for English, with phrases sometimes translated within the text, sometimes understandable through visual context clues, and often delightfully left for readers to puzzle out on their own. Quite like learning language—yes? A generous touch of giddy surrealism continues to make Raúl the Third’s faunal milieu a destination, lovingly detailed in frenetic compositions and Bay’s SweeTart-hued digital colorization. Exercise and toilet cleaning are rarely this much fun.



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pp. 312-313
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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