Saturday, November 29, 2014

Saturday Morning Cartoons-- House of Robots

20839549Grabenstein, Chris. House of Robots.
December 1st 2014 by Little Brown and Company
ARC from Baker and Taylor

Sammy Hayes-Rodriguez has enough trouble fitting in, but when his scientist inventor mom sends him to school with E, her robot prototype, things get even harder. The robot misbehaves and ends up getting sent home. Things are difficult at home, too-- Sammy's sister Maddie has Sever Combined immuno-deficiency, which means she is home schooled and that the house has to be kept clean at all times (in this case, by a robot). When E is fixed and returns to school, all the children love him and this brings a whole new set of problems. Sammy's friend Trip is jealous and brings his own remote controlled robot to school. There is a stereotypical larger-than-average bully who threatens physical violence to deal with, as well as Maddie's illnesses.
Strengths: We have some cultural diversity, as well as Maddie's physical infirmity, robots, and lots of pictures. Patterson could pick a writer and illustrator to help him do a version of War and Peace and they would read it. The paper over board binding is inexpensive, so two copies are indicated if they can be afforded. Often, students do buy these for themselves-- maybe I can talk some of them into donating their copies!
Weaknesses: This was told in a bit of a disjointed way at first-- Sammy is narrating, and is not an organized recounter of the story, which made it hard to follow. I'm still not entirely sure why his mother chose to send a robot to school, for example.

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