We hope you’ll enjoy our new bilingual early reader, The King of Things/El rey de las cosas by Artemio Rodríguez. In this bilingual early reader, little Lalo receives inspiration from the famous Mexican game, Loteria. Since he is the King of Things and of his Mexican game Loteria—and three years old besides—he plays with the Mexican cards, counting as his possessions the sun, the moon, a lion, a fish, a clown, a train, the crown on his head. Each Mexican card in Lalo’s kingdom has its own page, illustrated with a playful brightly colored Loteria woodcut by L.A.-based artist Artemio Rodríguez.
Loteria is an old Mexican game of chance played throughout Mexico. It first became popular in the last half of the eighteenth century and is still widely played at festivals, fairs and carnivals. Despite its name, the Mexican card game loteria most resembles a form of bingo using pictures instead of numbers. Lotería cards—along with lucha libre masks, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Dia de los Muertos, Che Guevara and countless other imported images—are synonymous with Latino culture which has been exuberantly embraced by Mexican card game loving Latinos and Anglos alike in this country.
Born in Tacámbaro, Michoacán, printmaker Artemio Rodríguez is a well known engraver-printer in Los Angeles, California. As a printmaker Artemio works primarily in black and white, Rodríguez’s signature style emphasizes simplicity and clarity. European medieval woodcuts and the great Mexican print artists such as Jose Guadalupe Posada have been influential in Rodríguez’s print making career. His strong black and white woodcuts have been called an integral part of two books: Woodcuts of Women (Grove Press) by Dagoberto Gilb, and Loteria Cards and Fortune Poems, A Book of Lives (City Lights) by Juan Felipe Herrera. Artemio, along with his compañera Sylvia, is the owner of La Mano Press and exhibits his work extensively in California and Mexico.