Pantalones, TX

Pantalones, TX

Don't Chicken Out

Book - 2013
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"Welcome to Pantalones, Texas, where children still play outdoors, skin knees, and raise hell. Chico Bustamante's favorite pastime is givin' chase to Sheriff Cornwallis. That is, until Chico meets the Sheriff's Giant Chicken and aims to ride it - or die tryin'! He'll have to man up and not chicken out!"--P. [4] of cover.
Publisher: Los Angeles, California : Archaia, [2013]
ISBN: 9781936393909
Characteristics: 116 pages : chiefly color illustrations ; 19 x 24 cm
Alternative Title: Don't chicken out


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Oct 19, 2016

This is a realllly strange book. In a good way. Mercado lives here in Austin and I'd kind of like to run into him sometime, just to get an idea of what he's like.

Chico Bustamante is the coolest kid in Pantalones, TX, the town where underwear was invented. His best friends are Pig Boy, who's some kind of mutant? And a Jewish vegetarian from Brooklyn. Chico is the town sheriff's nemesis. He's determined to get his name into the history books of Texas, and not even the sheriff's giant chicken is going to stop him... even if he needs a bar mitzvah to become a man to gain admittance to the Soulbreaker mechanical riding bull in the back of the saloon to do it!

(You see why I want to meet the guy? Like I said, it's a strange book.)

JCLChrisK May 22, 2014

It took me a couple of chapters to figure out the tone and style of this book, but once I did I had a very good time. Mercado's bio at the end of the book says "he's done video games, music videos, short films, screenplays, commercials, an animated series and graphic novels," and this felt as much to me like an animated TV show as a book. After I got my head wrapped around that and the world Mercado has created with his southwest Texas desert setting, I was able to appreciate how much character depth there is along with the hyper visuals and constant humor. It was a lot of (somewhat unexpected) fun.

Much of the best humor lies in a self-deprecating awareness of how different the extremes of the setting make it for a general audience. Consider this conversation between a couple of Pantalones natives and a New York transplant:

"Look at these clouds! It might rain both cats and dogs."


"Raining cats and dogs."

"I don't get it."

"It's a saying, 'Raining cats and dogs.'"

"Must be a New York thing."

"Is it because of all the tall buildings?"

Or the tagline for the Chicken Shack: "If it's not chicken, it's chicken fried."

Or the bit from the chapter on "Texas Legends" the teacher reads from the "Texas History" textbook:

Pecos Bill was the King of Texas and punched out a forest fire.
Paul Bunyan wrestled two giant blue oxen in the first Texas Smackdown.
And Texas railroad baron, John Henry, battled a radioactive runaway train.
Annie Oakley, first Queen of Texas, shot the Lone Star before it crashed to Earth.
Johnny Appleseed drove all the bad apples out of Texas.

This is the story of young local celebrity Chico Bustamante's quest to join that list by doing something so dangerous, daring, and audacious that he becomes the newest Texas Legend. It's a complicated quest that ultimately involves a contest between Chico and a giant chicken, with the winner getting the prize of eating the loser.


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