Review Blog

Jan 16 2017

The grabbem getaway by Adrian C. Bott

cover image

Ill. by Andy Isaac. Axel and BEAST series. Hardie Grant Egmont, 2016. ISBN 9781760127800
(Age: 7+) Recommended. What happens when a giant shape-shifting robot BEAST crash-lands in Axel's garage? Twelve-year old gamer Axel's life changes dramatically. One minute, he is battling BAGGER_63 in the Tankinator Arena using his skill, stealth and knowledge and the next he is off on an amazing action-adventure with his new friend BEAST. The young gamer lives with his single mother Nedra a motor mechanic, who home schools Axel because of the bullying he suffered previously. When Axel, Nedra and BEAST sit down to discuss the robot's fate, a holographic projection - a 3D image of Agent Omega appears on the robot's chest. With his wise guidance and some technological transformations, Axel and BEAST are ready to fight the enemy.
Axel climbs inside the clear panel on the robot's chest and steps into a clear, magnified world. Everything the BEAST senses, Axel can sense, the words appear in front of him and describe the object, material, history and the robot's abilities to utilise them. Flying, accelerating, dodging missiles launched by the Grabbem pilots in their flying ships, Axel is in his element, employing his gaming strengths. Ingenuity and creative problem solving allow Axel to best use BEAST's shape-shifting abilities to outwit the enemy.
Themes of having a go, standing up to bullying, courage, resourcefulness, friendship and loyalty are included in this action-packed chapter book just right for tech-savvy readers. Both Axel and BEAST are well rounded characters: the robot has a gentle nature, is fearful at times although he is really built to destroy others. Rusty Rosie, the junkyard owner is also a key character whose crane-driving skills play a vital role as well. Andy Isaac's graphic cartoons bring the action to life - the shape shifting as BEAST's SKYHAWK shoots into the sky like a rocket and the junkyard scenes with the enemy ships tied up in cables.
Axel and BEAST is a great junior novel to read to children who enjoy robots, technology and gaming. This book is captivating for readers with a high-interest and low reading level and is a great read-aloud class novel. Challenge the class to write their next adventure, develop and publish a short graphic novel or utilise a graphics program to design a similar range of robots.
Rhyllis Bignell

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