Saturday, January 31, 2015

Kid Konnection: House of Robots

Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. This week, I'm going to share with you a middle grade book that by one of the world's most successful authors.

Summary: In this new highly-illustrated series from James Patterson, an extraordinary robot signs up for an ordinary fifth grade class... and elementary school will never be the same! 

It was never easy for Sammy Hayes-Rodriguez to fit in, so he's dreading the day when his genius mom insists he bring her newest invention to school: a walking, talking robot he calls E--for "Error". Sammy's no stranger to robots--his house is full of a colorful cast of them. But this one not only thinks it's Sammy's brother... it's actually even nerdier than Sammy. Will E be Sammy's one-way ticket to Loserville? Or will he prove to the world that it's cool to be square? It's a roller-coaster ride for Sammy to discover the amazing secret E holds that could change family forever... if all goes well on the trial run! -Little Brown Books for Young Readers

I wasn't planning on reading HOUSE OF ROBOTS by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein this week, but my reading schedule had a slight change of plans. Booking Son read HOUSE OF ROBOTS for his next book report (which is actually a book project!), and he needed some assistance. I tried to help him based on just the book's description, but I quickly discovered that I was of little help. He'd probably tell you that I made things more confusing trying to interpret just the description!

Anyway... about two hours later, I finished HOUSE OF ROBOTS, and I have to say it was a cute read. Booking Son would agree but probably not use the term "cute." He liked it a lot, as he does almost all of the James Patterson middle grade books he's read; and I think he understood the book and its themes pretty well. I will probably know more when we actually have to work on the book report (i.e. a book jacket) this weekend!

HOUSE OF ROBOTS is Sammy Hayes-Rodriguez's story about living in a house of robots. Sammy is a pretty normal kid, if a little on the geeky side, who lives with his mother, his father, and his sister Maddie who has SCID. Maddie can't be exposed to germs so she doesn't attend school; however, she's just about the coolest and most upbeat kid you'd ever meet... and that's according to her brother!

Sammy's mother is a brilliant inventor who has created robots to handle most of the household chores. There is a robot that cleans (I need one!), and one that cooks (I want one!), but it's the robot named E that's she's created that has really changed Sammy's life. You see, E is supposed to go to school with Sammy!

E's first day of school was a disaster and didn't do much to help Sammy's standing with the other kids. After Sammy's parents were called into school, Sammy's mom reworked E so that his behavior was more appropriate. As a result, E became pretty darn popular in his own right, and Sammy had to admit that he wasn't all bad. In fact, he actually began to appreciate his new friend!

When something happens to E (can't tell you what!), Sammy is determined to figure out the mystery and save the day. Unfortunately, it might be too late! As Sammy sets out to solve the mystery, he ends up discovering that there is a lot more to E than he initially thought.

I thought HOUSE OF ROBOTS was a fun read, and I can definitely see why Booking Son enjoyed it so much. The book really is a fast read with short chapters and lots of illustrations. Additionally, the pace of the book is terrific even for those kids who are reluctant readers. The book has lots of action and even a mystery or two. It's definitely a story that you can't put down... unless you're Booking Son and your 16 required reading minutes a night are up!

As a mom, I really liked some things about HOUSE OF ROBOTS.  First of all, I loved Sammy. He was a pretty typical kid that I think many readers will relate to, and he was also a wonderful big brother. Naturally, he was upset and embarrassed to have to take a robot to school with him; however, he was also open-minded enough to see the good in E. I especially loved how Sammy was willing to do anything to save E!

I also really appreciated some of the messages in HOUSE OF ROBOTS. There were definitely anti-bullying and pro-acceptance messages which all kids need to hear. In addition, there were some other messages about courage and friendship. I was glad to learn that Booking Son understood what the book was trying to say and that he was able to articulate these ideas to me!

Overall, HOUSE OF ROBOTS is a fun read that's certain to appeal to a lot of middle grade readers. Booking Son would most definitely recommend it to his friends!

Booking Son received a copy of this book from Santa.

If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too!


bermudaonion said...

I've never read any of Patterson's middle grade books but I do love that he's trying to engage young readers. This sounds like a winner!

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

I recognize this one so now have to go check to see if I have it. I too appreciate Patterson reading into other genres.

Beth F said...

I haven't read any of his MG books either. Looks like it was hit at your house.