CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 8. . . .October 22, 2010.
Ben's Robot. (Orca Echoes).
Robin Stevenson. Illustrated by David Parkins.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2010.
58 pp., pbk., $6.95.
Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.
Review by Elaine Fuhr.
KX 749 looked perfect. Ben grinned widely. If only Jessy were here, this would be the best day ever.
And then something happened that made Ben forget all about Jessy.
KX 749's googly eyes moved from side to side. They moved up and down. Its steel-pipe legs gave a little kick. Its red wire mouth began to move. And in a flat robotic voice, it began to speak.
Ben's Robot captures the imagination and excitement of a seven-year-old boy named Ben. He is a cheeky little guy who loves to build things, and he even has a shed in his backyard full of the most wonderful junk. He and his best friend, Jessy, find the very best stuff in the piles of things people leave outside the dumpsters for others to use. Ben puts these bits and pieces away for his many projects. Then one day, he decides to build the best robot ever, and, with the addition of an important piece of circuitry found by the dumpster, the robot begins to talk. Ben tries his best to show off this amazing robot, but KX will not speak or move for anyone but him. Only Ben's little sister, who cannot talk, actually experiences the robot's amazing abilities. This robot is a rather unpleasant, saucy sort of fellow, and Ben just can't trust him.
Author Robin Stevenson, whose son inspired this story, certainly knows the heart of children like Ben and can communicate the fun and frustrations of learning. David Parkins, the illustrator, includes very detailed black and white illustrations. This delightful story, which tells the tale of an adventurous little boy, will keep young readers flipping the pages to see what will happen next.
Elaine Fuhr is a retired teacher now living in Victoria, BC.
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