House of robots by James Patterson
Random House Australia, 2014. ISBN 9780099568278
(Age: 10-12) There is no doubt that James Patterson must rank as one of the most highly successful authors of our times. His adult novels have always attracted huge readership and now he is simply tearing away with his books for children. I've now been lucky enough to review several and just love this new one, first in a series which upper/middle school kids will thoroughly enjoy.
Young Sammy Hayes-Rodriguez is one of those kids who is considered 'different' and always seems to be on the losing side of everything. He has a rather unusual family too. A mother who is a super-geek scientist building cutting edge robots and robotic devices, a dad who is a successful manga comic writer, a much loved little sister who suffers from an immune-deficiency condition and a whole house of very quirky robots.
Though the robots can make life easier in some ways, such as Mr Moppenshine keeping everything spick and span and Hayseed ensuring the garden grows plentifully, the newest robot 'E' is less than acceptable to Sammy. E is super smart and very pedantic and when his parents insist on E going to school with Sammy to undergo his final testing, Sammy is less than pleased.
Having to deal with the slings and arrows of outrageous bullying and having E shadow him constantly creates great angst for Sammy. But just as E starts to make an impact on both Sammy and his schoolmates and teachers, there is a dramatic development when E is botnapped!!
Realising his somewhat unfriendly attitude towards E may have been partially responsible for E's disappearance; Sammy is determined to track down the perpetrators of the cyber-crime.
With a very satisfying happy ending - not just for Sammy but for his entire family - when E is returned, rebuilt and restored to his original condition and intention, readers will enjoy the justice and compassion in this story. Highly illustrated to the point of almost being a graphic novel, this will also appeal to the more reluctant readers and though essentially a 'boy' story, I foresee that girls will also enjoy the humour and action of this one.
Kick off your new year with this addition to the shelves - and watch the readers around 10-12 scramble for it!