A boy and his dog have an imaginative adventure in James’ chapter book.
After an unappetizing dinner of spaghetti and meatballs, Noah, who is White, uses colored pencils to draw his nightly “RADVENTURES.” Soon, he and Rufus, his dog, are transported into the drawing of Spaghetti Mountain, where Rufus has turned into a talking mule. They encounter Pete “Garlic,” a mustachioed garlic clove, on the trek up. Noah asks for directions home. Garlic says they must “survive the Swamp Bolognese without melting, cross the rickety old Fusilli Bridge without falling, paddle up the Ragu River without getting eaten by the killer mirepoix, and make it to Parmesan Peak to face the Extra Spicy Meatball and his army of mini meatballs who shoot flames out of their mouths.” Noah and Rufus get creative along the arduous journey. They use a disintegrating bay leaf as a boat on the hot swamp. Finally, the duo encounters the meatballs, and, holy smokes, they are shocked to discover that the Extra Spicy Meatball is a double-crossing Garlic. “Thousands of mini meatballs surrounded Garlic, creating the biggest, scariest, most maniacal meatball.” When Noah notices that the more the meatballs roar, the more their fiery breath melts the Parmesan Peak, he runs away, intentionally causing upset. Soon, an “avalanche of…cheese…engulfed every last meatball, sticking them in place forever.” Back in his room, Noah awaits his next “radventure.” This silly story will appeal to those looking to dig into a humorous, exciting tale. Noah’s quick thinking and clever ideas will keep readers engaged. The spaghetti, sauce, and food-related names and imagery (basil brush, herb paddle, etc.) are wacky and fun. Rodrigues’ cartoon illustrations nicely supplement the story. They show Noah’s escapades as he endures the elements, like crossing the crumbling bridge, using spaghetti as rope, fighting off the meatballs, and more.
A goofy, plot-driven saga with kid-friendly characters and scenarios.