Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Mr. Mendoza's Paintbrush” as Want to Read:
Mr. Mendoza's Paintbrush
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Mr. Mendoza's Paintbrush

3.46  ·  Rating Details ·  183 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews
Mr. Mendoza, Mexico’s self-described king of graffiti, blesses the small town of Rosario with his sardonic wit. “Deflate your pomp or float away!” he paints on the body of an unexpectedly exhumed monk. “No intelligent life for 100 kilometers,” he proclaims on the sign that announces Rosario’s boundaries.

The residents of Rosario tolerate or enjoy Mr. Mendoza’s commentary as
Paperback, 64 pages
Published June 1st 2010 by Cinco Puntos Press (first published March 1st 2009)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Mr. Mendoza's Paintbrush, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Mr. Mendoza's Paintbrush

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jon(athan) Nakapalau
This beautiful GN forces us to look at how we treat outsiders; do we isolate individuals just because they are different and have a message we do not want to hear? The art is unique and complements the story...a hidden gem I am glad I found.
Aug 23, 2016 Licha rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphic-novel
Beautiful colors. Artwork no wow factor, but fairly good. Story did not captivate me at all. I didn't get the point of this story.

Mr. Mendoza goes through town painting little moral sayings on buildings, animals, vehicles, even people's bodies. Basically, a vandal. He' like the town's conscience. Some of the stuff he graffities makes no sense.

just didn't understand the why of this book.
First, the stuff I didn't like or wasn't sure about: There are places in this book where the direction shifts away from where I thought it was going, but I've learned that this story was originally a short story, so that might have something to do with it. Also,since the book's meanderings do set a pace I wouldn't go so far as to say that I think it is disjointed, instead it is just sort of the long way around. Perhaps this was deliberate, because it does give a more storyteller or folklore fee ...more
Jul 25, 2011 Adam rated it really liked it
Urrea's short story is a light-hearted portrait of Mexican village life in the town of El Rosario. The story is told by old lifelong friends recounting their younger years in the village, particularly as it related to Mr. Mendoza. Armed with a paintbrush, Mr. Mendoza, who deemed himself the "Graffiti King of Mexico," left his clever social commentary in paint on variety on features around town, including on the two boys in one particular instance. "Mr. Mendoza's Paintbrush" is filled with Urrea' ...more
Sep 01, 2015 Laura rated it really liked it
What a beautiful story told with the stroke of the paintbrush which told the story and history of a Latin America village of Rosario. The painter Mr. Mendoza touches the life of a young man with his paintbrush which in one case publicized on his person what he had done and followed him through out his young life into his becoming an adult. Mr. Mendoza continued in his life time to continue to be the town's conscience. The illustrations brings this story to life which I feel would not have happen ...more
Dec 16, 2011 Jake rated it really liked it
What a beautiful story told beautifully. Done in thick, generous strokes and colorings, the thin graphic novel tells the narrator's story and history of the Latin American village of Rosario. It's a quick tale, but elder Mr. Mendoza is a moralistic graffiti artist with one fat paintbrush. It's nostalgic and romanticized, swirling local history and personal history together, all with the tone and tempo of an old man trying to recapture the mystic wonder of his youth. I dug it a whole lot.
I didn't quite know what to make of this. Cardinale's artwork was certainly beautiful, and tied well to the story. But I found the story disjointed, and wasn't quite sure what the point was. If the only intent was to give a taste and feel of small-town Mexico, I think it succeeded in that; but I think Urrea wanted it to be more -- a parable, maybe? And that I didn't get. I really did like the ending, though, so I guess my true rating for it would be 2.5 stars.
I absolutely loved the illustrations in this short story graphic novel. The story is about a young boy that lives in the Mexican town of Rosario. Mr. Mendoza is the self-proclaimed King of Graffiti in Mexico and has become the town's conscience, even proving so to the main character and his friend after they are caught being a peeping toms. But everything is not as it seems in this town, as Mr. Mendoza later proves.
Jan 31, 2013 G. rated it it was amazing
Boy, finding some great graphic novels lately. I love stumbling across one I never heard of. This one blew my mind. A lovely magical realism story of the original graffiti artist, Mr. Mendoza, and how he turns his small village upside down. Beautifully written with wonderful woodblock style art, this is a real original worth searching for from this small indie press.
Melanie  Hilliard
Jan 12, 2014 Melanie Hilliard rated it it was amazing
Hey, I love it when things I love collide: magical realism, some nice art (graffiti included) and a fun little story about Mexico.

As part of my expanded reading for 2014, I've made an effort to read more graphic novels. So far, this is the best one I've read!
Jun 29, 2012 Aimee rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
Fun piece of magical realism. Made me think of a grown-up Harold and the Purple Crayon.
Danie P.
Mar 12, 2011 Danie P. rated it really liked it
This graphic novel fairytale/folktale takes place in Mexico and is about Mexico's King of Graffiti Mr. Mendoza. He never writes crude things but rather writes commentary that reflects his thoughts and feelings about society. This is a quick enjoyable read about the magical Mr. Mendoza.
Jan 08, 2016 Mike rated it really liked it
I had fun with this story. I enjoyed the great artwork. like good poetry this short graphic story let me add my imagination to the story
Graphic novel spun from a short story published in Six Kinds of Sky--lends itself well to the format, nicely rendered images.
Dec 27, 2013 Paul rated it really liked it
An early Urrea story wonderfully brought back to life by Cardinale's artwork in this graphic novel. The art and words work so well together it's a wonder the two hadn't collaborated from the start.
Aug 28, 2012 Monita rated it it was amazing
A quirky folk-style tale! A funny and truthful fable.
Dec 23, 2010 Lisa rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel, art
When Mr. Mendoza paints a stairway to heaven and ascends, why does no one follow him?
Ryan Miller
May 14, 2017 Ryan Miller rated it liked it
A neat little story of magical realism. I'd love to read more from the town of El Rosario.
Mar 08, 2012 Sarah rated it liked it
Lovely, lovely illustrations. Cardinale's an accomplished artist; he really makes the small town of Rosario come alive. You can practically feel the pulsing vitality of the culture and at the same time, feel the static humdrum of its citizens. Very well-done.

Mr. Mendoza was quite a character, and while I didn't understand a fair bit of his social commentary (maybe because I was in a rushing mood, maybe because I'm just naturally dense), I thought he was great as Rosario's resident outcast-rebel
Dec 03, 2010 Ellen rated it liked it
I enjoyed the mixture of acerbic social commentary by the town's moral conscience and graffiti artist, Mr. Mendoza, and the mythical, religious, and mythical elements found in so many modern Latin American stories. The drawings (woodcuts? etchings?) are dramatic rather than beautiful, but they capture the mood of this humorous take on small town Mexican life.
Barbara Lovejoy
May 05, 2011 Barbara Lovejoy rated it liked it
I chose to read this book because it was written by the same author who wrote The Devil's Highway. I actually thought this was going to be a children's book but it is definitely not. I liked the creative thought of Mr. Mendoza and the Mexican flavor of the book but there were some sexual references that I personally didn't like.
Jul 16, 2012 Edwina rated it liked it
I don't know if the story would have held together at all if not for the wonderful pictures. The art made me think I was really there. The story, though skipped around, with not much detail.

Interesting, I'm glad I read it, but I don't know to whom I would recommend it.
Jack Granath
Aug 19, 2010 Jack Granath rated it liked it
A nicely strange story about a graffiti artist whose vandalism functions as a moralistic commentary on small town life. Maybe it even becomes the town's conscience. With unsettling artwork in the style of R. Crumb.
Candice M (tinylibrarian)
Sep 08, 2010 Candice M (tinylibrarian) rated it did not like it
Really wanted to like this book but just couldn't get into it. The art is really cool but the storyline seems disjointed.
Nov 16, 2010 Jennifer rated it liked it
Shelves: comics
A beautiful story about a man who uses grafitti to critique ths city he lives in. I love the woodblock-looking art work. And the story itself is by turns funny and touching.
Graphic novel treatment of Mr. Urrea's short story. Lush, dark art draws you into the village of Rosario where Mr. Mendoza works his grafitti magic.
Kendra Johnson
Mar 03, 2015 Kendra Johnson rated it liked it
Shelves: library
This was good. It reads like a fable or legend, and it's a quick read with elements of magic.
Mar 07, 2011 Sarah rated it liked it
I was going to give this two stars, but I really liked the art, so: 3.
Sep 07, 2011 Les rated it liked it

Great art to accompany a sweet little short story which is originally the first story in Urrea's collection entitled Six Kinds of Sky.
Jul 28, 2011 Sarah added it
Shelves: graphic-novels
Artsy but BORING.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Penny Century (Locas, #4)
  • Aya: Love in Yop City (Aya #4-6)
  • RASL, Vol. 2: The Fire of St. George (RASL, #2)
  • El Monstruo: Dread and Redemption in Mexico City
  • The Aztecs: A Very Short Introduction
  • Artichoke Tales
  • Swallow Me Whole
  • The Goldsmith's Daughter
  • Famous Players (A Treasury of XXth Century Murder)
  • Nat Turner
  • Johnny Hiro: The Skills to Pay the Bills
  • 3 Story: The Secret History of the Giant Man
  • Harvey
  • First Stop in the New World: Mexico City, the Capital of the 21st Century
  • Isle of 100,000 Graves
  • Garmann's Summer
  • Groom Lake
  • Gringolandia
Luis Alberto Urrea is the award-winning author of 13 books, including The Hummingbird's Daughter, The Devil's Highway and Into the Beautiful North (May 2009). Born in Tijuana to a Mexican father and American mother, Luis has used the theme of borders, immigration and search for love and belonging throughout his work. A Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2005 (nonfiction), he's won the Kiriyama Prize (2006 ...more
More about Luis Alberto Urrea...

Share This Book