The Colossus of Roads

Written by Christina Uss

Rick’s family owns a Polish catering business in Los Angeles. One day Rick overhears that his family’s business is not bringing in enough money and there is a high possibility that they will have to close up shop forever. Rick wants to help save his family business, but he has a major problem. He easily gets carsick and is lucky to venture four miles away from his house in a moving vehicle without puking. He is forced to spend all his time at home and developed a hobby studying traffic patterns. Over time he has created solutions on how to improve road conditions by placing signs in particular spots. Sadly, no one takes his ideas seriously and he knows they are needed to help his parents reach an important client on time with piping hot food. This client would save the family business and Rick is determined to bring his solutions to life. It will take guts, determination, and the help of girl scouts to make his plan work.

I loved how Christina Uss did not create Rick to be a whiny character who lets his stomach dictate his attitude and motivation in life. He acknowledges that he has a medical problem that is unsolvable and has learned to live a fulfilling life. Christina used examples of real-life artists painting on roads and street signs to create a memorable story. I loved how she had three different groups with various opinions on improving road safety interact with each other. This shows children that your ideas may be challenged because someone has a different solution to solve the problem. Most books depict that a child’s idea will never work because of their age but that is not always the case. Sometimes you must interact with people whose ideas clash with you in order to give your ideas a chance. The Colossus of Roads by Christina Uss is a great realistic novel. It will add diversity to your library because sometimes children must live with medical issues that cannot be solved by science at this time.

Reviewed by LeeAnne Grover, Media Clerk, Hillside Elementary
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)
Interest Level: Grades 4-9

The Colossus of Roads
Written by Christina Uss
Margaret Ferguson Books, Holiday House
199 pages
Release Date: April 1, 2020
ISBN: 9780823444502 
A review copy was provided by the publisher.

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