From growing beards to wearing lucky socks, athletes' superstitions can be unusual, and that's certainly true of Luis, a rabbit who scoffs at the traditions his father had when he used to play (such as turning his belt to the side). But skeptical though he is, Luis comes to believe that his Little League success depends upon his eating a free sample at the grocery store before every practice or game--a unique superstition if ever there was one. Montijo's canvas-textured acrylics create a cozy world shared by animals of different species (including a goat umpire and pig shoppers). Soto includes occasional Spanish words and phrases (they are not always translated, though most are common enough), as Luis learns that determination and hard work are more important than luck. Ages 3-5. Agent: Kendra Marcus, Bookstop Literary Agency. (Mar.)[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC
K-Gr 2--Little Leaguer Luis is a bunny with a serious case of game-day superstitions. His secret ritual involves swinging by the local supermarket for "tryouts" of food before the opening pitch. He is paralyzed by performance anxiety when an elderly turtle gets the last chili-flavored breadstick sample, and he ends the game without a single hit. When Luis finally tells his father about his superstition, the elder rabbit, who had lucky behaviors of his own when he was young, explains that winning in baseball is "about practice and listening to your coach." Finally, with the support of his entire extended family cheering him on in the stands, and prevented by the coach from using his father's belt-buckle-shifted-to-the-side trick, Luis sends the ball "flying over the second baseman's arm." Sprinkled with Spanish words, this story attempts to bring a Hispanic flavor to a traditional baseball story but fails to flesh out the tale with real cultural details. If the intended message is that superstitions don't make a great ballplayer, the final belt maneuver by all the male relatives undoes that sentiment. Montijo's warm, summer-hued acrylic illustrations perfectly set the scene for a ballgame. The rabbit protagonists sport oversize ears and large round eyes, giving them a certain comedic flair, but also making the dramatic tension in the story line seem anything but serious. This lightly seasoned tale lacks heat and should be considered only as a supplemental purchase where baseball books are a guaranteed home run.--Jenna Boles, Washington-Centerville Public Library, OH[Page 98]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.