The Colossus of Roads

Holiday House/Margaret Ferguson. May 2020. 208p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780823444502.
Gr 4 Up–When readers are first introduced to 11-year-old Rick Rusek, it seems that the only friend Rick has is his chatty stomach, which is so affected by motion sickness that he transfers back to his neighborhood school from the math and science magnet (the new bus schedule caused his route home to be longer, and his fragile stomach couldn’t withstand such a ride). Rick’s mom’s catering business is on the verge of closure due to continuously missed appointments and late deliveries. Clients are not concerned with the massive traffic jams everyone in his Southern California community faces daily; they are only concerned with punctual delivery service for their food. Rick has been obsessed with delivery routes since second grade and this year is no different; except this year he’s prepared a colossal road plan to alleviate the ginormous traffic snarls that could save his mom’s business. To get this done, he will need the help of a Girl Scout troop, a famous artist, and a NASCAR-trained abuelita. The intergenerational cast of characters emphasizes how people of different ages can work together to improve their community.
VERDICT In this heartwarming, fast-paced story, Uss seamlessly weaves STEAM threads along with a dose of wit and humor to help readers focus on the importance of friendship, family, and second chances.

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