“Lucky Luis” by Gary Soto and illustrated by Rhode Montijo is the story of a young rabbit named Luis whose father was a “champ” baseball player.
That makes Luis nervous about trying out for Little League. His dad tells him funny stories about the superstitions that he and the other players had. One never changed his socks — yuck! His father wore his belt buckle to the side for good luck.
On the way to tryouts, they stop at the local mercado and Luis gets a sample, or “tryout.” Soto writes, “Luis was happy to have a ‘tryout’ before his tryout.”
Luis plays great and makes the team. On the way to the first practice, they stop again at the store and Luis gets another ‘tryout’ and is elected co-captain of the team. Before the next practice, Luis again stops at the supermarket and tries some celery sticks dipped in salad dressing. He has a great practice.
However, Luis’ luck changes when at the store the next day, someone snatches the last sample before he can get it. Luis doesn’t do well at practice. He worries it’s because he needs his tryouts. Without his tryouts, Luis doesn’t play well at all.
When Luis confides in his father, his wise father tells him that playing well is about practice and listening to the coach, not the food samples.
It’s an important game and all Luis’ family is coming. He is nervous because they didn’t stop for samples. When Luis stops thinking about his superstition and focuses on what his coach told him, he helps win the game.
This is a great book for discussing superstitions with children. It’s also a great choice to use when teaching diversity as Soto sprinkles Spanish liberally throughout the story, and Luis’ father is obviously a second language learner.
Gary Soto has written many works for children. Learn more about him at his website.
Please note: This review is based on a F&G (folded and gathered) version of the picture book provided by the publisher, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group, for review purposes.