Review: The Colossus of Roads by Christina Uss

The Colossus of Roads

Author: Christina Uss

Published: May 5, 2020

Publisher: Margaret Ferguson Books

Number of Pages: 224 pages

Format: Hardback

Source: Edelwiess+

Eleven-year-old Rick Rusek is determined to improve the traffic conditions in Los Angeles– his parent’s failing delivery catering service, Smotch, depends on it.

“Traffic is a puzzle with one correct solution. And I’ve got to solve it!”

Rick has been studying maps and traffic patterns for years, and devises solutions to improve Los Angeles’ notoriously terrible traffic that he calls his Snarl Solutions. He has big ideas, but not enough resources– until his artistic friend, Mila brings him to a Girl Scout meeting.

Every week at Miss Diamond’s art studio, the scouts paint recycled traffic signs with their own designs. The signs will be hung all over Los Angeles to beautify the city with art. But Rick, The Colossus of Roads, has ulterior motives . . . He will restore the signs to their original glory and find a way to install them strategically to rectify the traffic. Anything can be hung with duct tape!
But of course, it’s not that easy. SPLAT (Stop Poor LA Traffic), BLAM (Bike-Loving Amazing Mamas), and the TCD (Traffic Calming Division) have their own methods of curing the city’s dilemma and will undermine Rick’s efforts however they can.

Will Rick be able to clear the notorious traffic problem on Sepulveda Pass in time for his parents to deliver Polish food to the movie studio and land the catering contract they need to keep their company afloat?

Written by Christina Uss, the acclaimed author of The Adventures of a Girl Called Bicycle, which was selected for the Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List and was a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the year.

This book is a wholesome, coming of age book about appreciating talent, delicious food, and solving big problems with creativity and ingenuity.  These are the values I want to instill in my son and this is a perfect book to accompany those lessons he is learning in real life!  I found this book to be charming and a great read for middle grade readers!  The punny title also warms my heart, even though I’m not always a fan of puns!

Rick is a regular kid with a stomach that limits some of the things he can do.  He also has a really great talent for art, specifically street art.  When I say street art, I mean making art with street signs!  This book absolutely inspired me to see the beauty in roadside art and has me yearning to take a road trip!  Rick is such a well written, feel good character who wants to do what is best for his family, no matter what it takes!  Reading through Rick’s failures, his triumphs, and his journey was really special!  I love the setting in Los Angeles, one of the most traffic jam prone cities in the country!  This is a great book for middle grade readers and would be a perfect family read! 

The author is a skilled writer and you can really see her passion for the craft through her prose! 

I live in a city that has a major part of Route 66, the original Mother Road of the United States!  We have so much fantastic art in our community including murals, sculptures, and creative road signs!  My son is also going to read this book and we are going to go on a hunt to find all of the cool street art in our community!  A local artist and his collaborators put up fund road signs in the 1990s in our community as well!  Some of the more fun ones are below! Be sure to click on the pictures to see more great photos of these unique signs!

Thank you to the publisher and Edelweiss+ for this book, I thoroughly enjoyed it and have given this review of my own accord! 

What cool street art is in your community?  I would love to see it! 


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