Nino Wrestles the World by Yuyi Morales


Morales, Yuyi. Nino Wrestles the World.  Roaring Brook/Neal Porter, 2013.  $16.99, 40 pages.

Link to Author’s Website:

Links to Interviews with Author:

Links to Reviews Available Online:

Reader’s Annotation:
Nino the luchador will take on any competitor.  But what happens when he’s faced with Las Hermanitas?


Meet Nino the luchador.  He meets any contender that is willing to challenge him.  From La Momia de Guanajuato to Cabeza Olmeca to El Extraterrestre and El Chamuco.  His signature moves include the tickle tackle, puzzle muzzle, and Popsicle Slick!  But his most fearsome match is against Las Hermanitas.  Their fighting style is biting, puling hair, poking eyes, and anything imaginably rude.  To make matters worse, they are still not potty trained.  What will Nino do when faced with these terrible two?


A fun read by an award winning author/artist/puppet maker/radio host.  Chock-full of brightly colored illustrations, stylized onomatopoeia word bubbles, and fun signature moves, Nino Wrestles the World takes a look at the imagination of a young boy turned luchador.  The front and back book covers hold profiles of each of the competitors Nino faces, detailing pronunciation of names, personality, birth place, temperament, battle cry, and lucha style.  The use of Spanish words may be more challenging for some readers.  It may have been helpful to include translations of the names of some of the other wrestlers as it would help readers understand why they were named as such.  The fun illustrations call back to the first illustration of Nino with his toys, and shows that the wrestling is taking place in his play room amidst the toys he has scattered around.  The message of dealing with younger siblings, two younger sisters to be exact, is a sweet, wholesome message of family unity.

Rating Scale:

  • Popularity:1 – Would sit on shelves unread; 2 – May see the light of day as an assigned reading; 3 – Interesting to readers, may need marketing; 4 – Very appealing read, ; 5 – Need multiple copies, because it would always be checked out!
  • Quality: 1 – How was this book ever published?; 2 – Poor literary quality; 3 – Average literary quality, nothing stands out as exceptional; 4 – Overall high quality literary quality, with certain areas of exceptional literary quality; 5 – Well-crafted of the highest literary quality
  • Popularity: 4
  • Quality: 3

Genre and Subgenre:  picture book, fantasy

Appeal Factors: luchadors, lucha libre, illustrations, use of imagination

Readalike Titles or Authors:

  • Big Daddy, Frog Wrestler by Maribeth Boelts
  • Lucha Libre: The Man in the Silver Mask by Xavier Garza

Awards Won and Book Lists:

  • 2014 Pura Belpre Award
  • 2014 Notable Children’s Book

Booktalking Ideas:

  • Nino as a luchador
  • Nino versus Cabeza Olmeca
  • Nino versus Las Hermanitas

Book Discussion Questions or Ideas:

  • How can you tell that Nino is imagining wrestling with toys?
  • Who would you be if you were a luchador?
  • Think of a signature move for Nino to use against another competitor.

Why I Chose This:

I chose this book because of the little luchador in his undies on the cover.  The topic of lucha libre is something that my husband’s family enjoys, and so I thought I may enjoy reading a picture book featuring a child pretending to be a luchador.  The brightly colored pictures and the fun fonts and text were also appealing.


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