Summer on Wheels

978-1-93543-074-2. 49.95.
Gary Soto’s delightful road trip (Scholastic, 1995) takes place on bikes as Hector and Mando decide to visit Hector’s relatives across California during summer break. Their adventures include starring in a commercial and being in a paintball battle. Upbeat high jinks ensue, like eating with both forks so the correct one is used at least half the time and the boys pretending to be statues at a wax museum. Listeners are along for the ride thanks to the rich settings Soto paints. Among the places Hector and Mando visit is a ramshackle studio that has mattresses against the wall where one uncle works as a recording engineer and a palatial mansion where another uncle works as a chauffeur. They learn lessons about the importance of family along the way. Some intense scenes are included when their bikes are almost stolen, but even that incident works out and they end up winners at a local bingo night. Anthony Perez does an excellent job with the narration, distinguishing the voices of numerous characters and perfectly pronouncing Hispanic terms and slang. The production quality is first rate in this exuberant tale of friendship and community.–C.A. Fehmel, St. Louis County Library, MO

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