________________ CM . . . . Volume VII Number 7 . . . . December 1, 2000

cover Ricky Ricotta's Giant Robot: An Adventure Novel.

Dav Pilkey. Pictures by Martin Ontiveros.
Toronto, ON: Scholastic Inc., 2000. 111 pp., pbk., $4.99.
ISBN 0-590-30720-7.

Subject Headings:
Robots-Juvenile literature.
Mice-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2 - 4 / Ages 7 - 9.

Review by Joan C. Simpson.

** /4

Although the cover calls this book an "adventure novel," it is really an adventure comic in novel format. Ricky, a small timid mouse in little boy clothes, is bullied by three older "boys" until he bounces a kickball off evil Dr. Stinky's head. Dr. Stinky drops and breaks his robot controller, releasing the Giant Robot who becomes Ricky's friend and protector. Of course, Dr. Stinky builds a monster to get revenge. There is a battle between the monster and the robot which the robot wins. Eventually, the robot puts Dr. Stinky in jail, and they live happily ever after.
    Martin Ontiveros's bold outline comic style illustrations depict actions and feelings. He uses typical comic techniques, such as enlarged drops around faces to indicate anxiety and curved lines to indicate path of motion. The illustrations dominate the two to six lines of text per page. Typical of a comic book, there is littler characterization; the focus is on plot. It is a classic tale of good vs evil, and good wins. The book includes instructions for drawing the robot and the monster. It also has a gimmick which may appeal to children but could limit the shelf-life of the book. This is a flip-o-rama book. Readers are instructed to hold the book down with the left hand and then to hold the lower right corner between thumb and index finger and flip the page back and forth quickly to animate the image.
    The gimmicks, plot and bold illustrations, including the prominent raised fist of the Giant Robot on the cover, are sure to appeal to reluctant male readers. However, unless there is a serious need in your library, I would not recommend this book for purchase. It is much better suited for inclusion in a student book club flyer for individual student purchase.

Recommended with Reservations.

Joan C. Simpson is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364