Lucky's Lick

Children - Grade K-3rd
16 Pages
Reviewed on 09/04/2013
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite

Lucky's Lick by Mary Esparza-Vela is a heart rending tale of Juanito, who is crippled after being hit by a car. Unlike other children of his age, he spends his day in a wheelchair. His mother makes him do a lot of exercises to help him walk again. On Juanito's birthday, his uncle gives him a puppy and he names it Lucky. The story is how Lucky changes Juanito's life. The story speaks about a child's determination to get well and the way he works towards this goal with the help of his mother.

What a very positive story with an interesting concept and message of optimism, hope, and acceptance. It's beautiful and at the same time very sad. You feel sorry for Juanito's plight but the best part of the story is how he accepts his condition and always tries to put on a cheerful front. The concept of the story is very inspiring and uplifting. It teaches children to have faith. The book also speaks about good attitudes and anticipation of the best.

The illustrations are top class quality. They complement the story beautifully and breathe life into the characters, adding to the beauty of the tale. Illustrations are an important part of children's story books because they make interpretations easy for a small child.

Will he have the patience to listen to his mother and do daily therapy for his legs? Will Juanito be able run behind Lucky and play with him like before?

Penelope Anne Cole

Lucky’s Lick, by Mary Esparza-Vela, with artwork by Denis Proulx, is an uplifting story of a little boy paralyzed due to an accident. When the story begins, Juanito is waiting for his friends to come to his birthday party. He’s in a wheelchair because of the damage he’s suffered – he misses his active life, but his spirit remains positive.

Juanito finds things to enjoy in daily living, as his mother tirelessly continues his healing physical therapy – she never loses faith. At his party, he gets the superhero gifts he wanted, but he gets something else, a sweet little puppy from his Uncle Frank. Juanito names his puppy Lucky. The title of the story comes from little Lucky licking Juanito’s toes and that lick shows them something wonderful!

The artwork by Denis Proulx is cheerful, upbeat, and animated. You see the loving world Juanito lives in. His happy face is wide open for all the world to see. Except for the one picture where he’s sad that he can’t play ball with his friends, most of the artwork clearly shows Juanito’s joy in living.

Children everywhere will empathize with Juanito’s plight – being sidelined due to an injury. What makes this story special is the love that permeates it. Juanito’s family and friends are all there for him in his struggle to regain the use of his legs. Children with disabilities and obstacles to overcome will appreciate Juanito’s struggle and his family’s persistence and support.

Most of Mary Esparza-Vela’s picture books are translated into Spanish and this one will be, too. This is a good one to share the love across international and cultural lines. The message of faith, hope, love, and never giving up comes across loud and clear.

Available from,,

By Mymc Books

My Review: Juanito sat in his wheel chair watching the kids in his neighborhood playing basketball and riding their bikes. Only a few months ago he was riding his bike before he got struck by a car which left him paralyzed from the waist down. Juanito's prayer was to walk again and with his birthday coming up he wasn't going to allow his situation get in the way of celebrating with his friends and family. He received a special gift from his uncle which went a long way in helping him make a full recovery.

This is an inspiring and uplifting story, a story about a positive attitude toward life situations. This story not only encourages children but gives hope. A great way to overcome adversity.

The illustrations by Denis Prouix are bright and bold which helps bring the story to life. I highly recommend this book.

Disclaimer: As per FTC guidelines, I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation. All opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone.

Donna M. McDine

As human beings we are met with challenges on a daily basis and how we choose to react to them is entirely up to us. Meet Juanito, a boy who is excited about his birthday party and disappointed at the same time because he cannot participate in sports with his friends because of his paralysis.

Juanito's hope for his birthday is to receive super hero toys and he imagines what fun they would be to have. An unexpected gift of a puppy ends up being the best gift imaginable in more than one way. The companionship is the obvious and the outcome of the unexpected will make the readers' heart soar with faith. Read Lucky's Lick to discover Juanita's special gift and how it changes his life.

Mary Esparza-Vela's talent for blending many emotions at once from the characters into a believable and heartwarming story from the onset will make Lucky's Lick a story to read over and over again. Illustrator, Denis Proulx's delightful illustrations bring Juanito's story to life capturing the story of friendship, faith, and determination. A must read for one and all for whatever your adversity in your life is.

Susan Hornbach

Juanito sits in his wheelchair as other children play. Just a year before Juanito experienced a terrible accident.

It's his special day and the anticipation of a party fills him with thoughts of super heroes and friends to help him celebrate.

His imagination keeps him occupied as his fascination with nature creates entertainment.

Find out how Juanito's party, a prayer, a wish, a present and a lick, can bring a young boy's dream to life.

This is a wonderful story of a child who never loses faith, who keeps a positive attitude in the face of disappointment, and makes the best of life in spite of what has happened to him. It's a story to touch your heart and to show young children that whatever happens in life, they can always have hope.

The illustrations by Denis Proulx are bright and engaging. The author Mary Esparza-Vela has truly written a story to inspire and touch the hearts of children.

I give this book five*****stars for colorful illustrations, a fun story, great emotion and a story I think will delight young children.

Janet Ann Collins "Writer

This book will help kids understand what it's like to be unable to walk and they'll be cheering for Juanito, the main character, who was hit by a car and hopes to be able to walk again. The puppy he gets as a surprise birthday present is a big encouragement. Kids who read this book or have it read to them will enjoy the story.

Susan J. Wood

Lucky's Lick makes you fall in love with the characters. You feel for Juanito as he struggles and there's joy when he recovers. Those who are struggling will be inspired to never give up hope. This story shows the power of love between a boy and his dog. A great read.