Children/Young: Yo Elvis Riboldi

Author: Bono Bidari
-La Galera
-US Release Date: 03-04-2014
-Reviewed by:María del Carmen Rivero
-Review Release:October 8, 2012

Elvis is a misfit but ultimately so is everyone seems to be this message of this upbeat, fast-paced children’s graphic novel. The protagonist, Elvis, whose parents named him for Elvis Presley after a Las Vegas trip, only knows how to get in trouble, and he really does not know how to get out of it. Elvis is a constant troublemaker, bad student and is totally absent-minded. His only friend, Boris, is his alter ego- who is a computer nerd and a responsible student.  Boris seems to overlook all of Elvis’ mishaps to be his loyal friend and bring some stability to his chaotic existence. His parents are sympathetic post-modern parents who self-medicate themselves and sing the theme song from Titanic that Elvis dislikes so much.  Elvis only likes AC/DC.

However, they also care for their son and worry about his future and they should be because Elvis runs away and creates a make believe house in a tree using all of the his parents’ appliances, burns downs the house of Mr. Pinkerton, the richest and most powerful man in town, causes various car accidents, and fails every class.  He accomplishes all this and much more-without any malice, and perhaps this is what makes him so likable.  He creates havoc but without any bad intent.  Finally his empathetic, but worn down parents, seek a diagnosis from a well known doctor in another city- the diagnosis for Elvis; the all too politically correct hyperactive.or ADD child.

Elvis is a character that is pretty universal, a toned down version of Bart Simpson. He is a misfit who somehow tries to fit with a little help from his friends, parents and ultimately medication.  Even his detractors- mainly Mr. Pinkerton-admired and hated at the same time, his son, and Jennifer, the reprehensible, school teacher are redeemable characters who might not understand our protagonist, but at least tolerate him.  The sympathetic neighbor ex-hippie Mr. Logosi that takes Elvis on a few adventures adds familiarity to the book.

The book is written a simple language, but with a lot a sense of humor and wit, cultural references  that  are easy to understand; whimsical characters, and overall loyalty from his friend and sidekick, Boris. Also the support of his parents and community that make this book a positive book for children and pre-teens.

The art work is very good, especially the depiction of Jennifer, the teacher.  The writers (Bono Bidari) is actually the pen names of four writers have a lot of experience in writing for children’s TV programs. The predictable diagnosis actually makes the protagonist more approachable to most kids in Western cultures who are familiar with the terminology and can understand it. . Also, there is a bit of relief that this is the only thing wrong with Elvis.

The unpredictable ending only adds to overall charm of the book when his parents decide to throw him a big party because he passed one class, P.E.  Buena suerta-Elvis.