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Great and Mighty Nikko

Kirkus Reviews
"Between Nikko's narrative dialogue bubbles and electric-starburst interjections from Mom, this fun, fully bilingual counting book is just the thing to settle down unruly luchadores everywhere. … The individual masks and costumes of the luchadores are wonderfully detailed, from the jaguar's spotted cape to Mighty Nikko's belted singlet. … This rambunctious addition to the world of bedtime and early concept books stands out."
The Great and Mighty Nikko
What's better than one wrestler jumping on the bed? Ten of them! Nikko's mom is not amused. But it's not his fault. Nine lucha libre wrestlers are just too much for one kid to handle. Or are they? Between Nikko's narrative dialogue bubbles and electric-starburst interjections from Mom, this fun, fully bilingual counting book is just the thing to settle down unruly luchadores everywhere. With wrestlers to the left and wrestlers to the right, Nikko is stuck in the middle—just in time for a bout of bedtime bedlam in a twin-sized ring, ropes and all. Garza's palette of roaring red, overwhelming orange, yelling yellow, Pepto pink, and gagging green is perfect for the black-outlined, vibrant illustrations that catapult across the comic-book-style frames. Appropriate Arabic numerals complement the mayhem in the corners of the spreads. The individual masks and costumes of the luchadores are wonderfully detailed, from the jaguar's spotted cape to Mighty Nikko's belted singlet. A glossary and pronunciation guide would have made this an exceptional book, but even without these aids to bridge the culture gap between young wrestling fans nationwide, this rambunctious addition to the world of bedtime and early concept books stands out. One, uno; two, dos; three, tres…¡LUCHA!
- Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2015 
Midwest Book Review
"The Great and Mighty Nikko!" is a fabulous big screen comic book counting escapade, with Nikko wrestling with his many masked wrestlers (toy) on his bed (instead of going to sleep). Hispanic boys who are learning to count, read, and draw will adore "The Great and Mighty Nikko!"
The Great and Mighty Nikko! A Bilingual Counting Book
From southern Texas bursts the bilingual counting adventure, "The Great and Mighty Nikko!" By an award winning author, artist and storyteller, "The Great and Mighty Nikko!" is a fabulous big screen comic book counting escapade, with Nikko wrestling with his many masked wrestlers (toy) on his bed (instead of going to sleep). Hispanic boys who are learning to count, read, and draw will adore "The Great and Mighty Nikko!" It's masked luchadores who make up the mighty Luche Libre Ring prove no match for the great and Mighty Nikko. Fortunately, Nikko's mother observes in the end that even the great and might Nikko, king of Lucha Libre, needs to sleep once in a while. Brilliant graphic images of masked luchadores alternate with bilingual large speech balloons, as the reader is completely drawn into the bedcover world of Lucha Libre, home base of the Great and Mighty Nikko. Could counting or reading in two languages be any more fun?
- October 1, 2015  Visit Website
Latinos In Kid Lit
“What an entertaining read – I’ll definitely be adding this lively tale to my educational library!”
Libros Latin@s: The Great and Mighty Nikko! / ¡El gran y poderoso Nikko! by Xavier Garza

DESCRIPTION OF THE BOOK: Nikko loves bedtime. That's because his bed turns into a magical wrestling ring for the masked luchadores that he loves. They bounce up and down like crazy. His mom, of course, doesn't believe Nikko. She accuses him of jumping on his bed. But that's just not true at all. She just can't see what Nikko sees. And to prove his point—zoosh! Here comes luchador numero UNO with a golden mask and a silver cape. Oh, wow. Number TWO wears an orange mask with yellow flames. Another looks like a jaguar and he growls! A rooster! A bull with horns! And a dragon that breathes fire! And so it goes until TEN luchadores are jumping on Nikko's bed. That's when the Great and Mighty Nikko puts on his mask, taking on all ten wrestlers at once and defeating them soundly. Ahh, a fresh victory under his belt, now it's time for Mighty Nikko to catch some zzzzzs!

MY TWO CENTS: As an early childhood teacher and aunt to several little ones, I’m always on the lookout for exciting new picture books that will capture young readers’ attention and, ideally, trick them into learning. Happily, Xavier Garza’s new dual language concept book – The Great and Mighty Nikko! / ¡El gran y poderoso Nikko! – fits the bill, bringing together the exhilaration of lucha libre and the practical skill of counting. Young readers will love how the tension mounts as, one by one, rudos (rascally wrestling opponents) join forces on Nikko’s bed / wrestling ring to challenge him in the ultimate pre-bedtime match. They won’t even notice that they’re learning as they anxiously turn the pages to count the ever-growing group of opponents. Meanwhile, Garza’s bold use of color, fluid brush strokes, comic-style layout and variety of luchador masks in his illustrations add to the drama. What an entertaining read – I’ll definitely be adding this lively tale to my educational library!

TEACHING TIPS: The Great and Mighty Nikko! / ¡El gran y poderoso Nikko! is the perfect addition to a preschool learning unit about sports, or teachers and students can simply enjoy it as a fun read-aloud. In addition to counting the luchadores on each page, children can practice their analytic skills by making predictions about what will happen when Nikko finally faces off against his opponents. Moreover, inviting children to join in on each page’s refrain – “Now there are ___ luchadores wrestling on my bed! / ¡Ahora hay ___ luchadores luchando en mi cama!” – will help them develop their bilingual pre-reading skills. Since the comic-style layout might be unfamiliar to young readers who are used to “traditional” written narratives, teachers can point out specific textual elements like speech bubbles and sound effects text. Comics and graphic novels are extremely popular with kids, so learning these features can benefit them in the future. With so many interesting facets, this book has something to teach every child.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Xavier Garza is a prolific author, artist, and storyteller whose work is a lively documentation of the dreams, superstitions, and heroes in the bigger-than-life world of South Texas. Garza is celebrated for his lucha libre picture books and chapter books. Maximilian and the Mystery of the Guardian Angel was a Pura Belpré Honor Book and an ALA Notable Book in 2012.
- Marianne Snow, November 5, 2015  Visit Website
School Library Journal
"This is a book that celebrates not only Mexican culture, but the universal joys of imaginative play."
Xavier Garza takes the traditional bedtime story and gives it a festive twist. Nikko is playing with Lucha Libre action figures on his bed. His mother, of course, doesn’t want him wrestling on the bed. Nikko is not wrestling; it’s the Lucha Libre fighters. His mother points out that they are just toys, but Nikko tells her that his bed has become a Lucha Libre ring. The wrestlers come out one at a time until it’s nine against one—it’s Nikko himself who emerges triumphant. What makes this work particularly distinctive is Garza’s art, which is big and bold, with strong colors. The title’s art style has a comic book feel, down to the Growls! and Roars! of the wrestlers. This is a book that celebrates not only Mexican culture, but the universal joys of imaginative play.
- May 23, 2015  Visit Website

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