Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Wrestling the world!

Children especially boys love to fancy themselves as super–heroes ….. tough, all powerful and invincible! No wonder ….super hero movies are such a big hit with the kids! Well, the recent super hero flicks sure seem to be intended only for kids! J   Similarly most children’s programming on super heroes lay emphasis on muscular strength and physical prowess as the only means to defeat the enemies. You cant help but squirm when you see your little one delight in Chota Bheem’s (Indian children's programming) purported victory in a wrestling duel with his adversary. I guess as they grow up… you can only hope they factor in other traits that make an all-round super-hero ….after all actual heroes are made of sterner stuff than just physical strength! Isn’t it??

As of now it doesn’t harm to let them dream on……gloat over their imaginary super hero status ….ready to take on the world!!! So with that intention in mind I had a relative in the US pick up “Nino Wrestles the World” by Yuyi Morales on their annual visit to India. Frankly, this makes a great Spanish language read-aloud and at first I wasn’t sure if Abhay would appreciate its Hispanic lingo. But I guess boys everywhere are the same…….no matter which part of the world they live in! Little Nino imagines himself to be the world’s greatest wrestler  and what’s more he is successfully overpowers the meanest, slimiest and creepiest of all his contenders with panache!  Presented in a WWE style wrestling match between Nino and his challengers, read on as Nino tackles the mummy from Guanajuanto city, hard, rock-headed warrior from an ancient civilization, Mexican female ghost with terrifying echoes and an extra terrestrial in a flying saucer with his varied strategies matching their respective “Lucha” styles (traditional Mexican wrestling)!! But as Nino vanquishes all his opponents, there’s till someone whom he just can’t defeat – his baby sisters who wake up from their afternoon nap to pounce on him! So he makes his best move ever - “If you cant defeat them….. join them!” Abhay loved the story but couldn’t fully comprehend its Hispanic setting and Spanish expressions and neither could I! J However, thanks to the brief notes found on the book cover, readers are provided with a peek into Latino folklore as this book doubles up as an introduction to multi linguisitic and multicultural sensibilities! Illustrations pictured in a comic book fashion, sound effects brought out (‘Zzzwap’, ‘Slish’, ‘Pachatas’ ) in decorative fonts and bright colours true to its authentic Mexican setting, no wonder this book is a recipient of the Pura Belpre award, presented to a book that best portrays Latino culture. Nino’s adventures are after all ………every boy’s super-boy dream!!   

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