They keep churning them out, but the kids love em, so why not? House of Robots is the latest book by James Patterson aimed at kids. Yes, it contains loads of cartoon drawing, but at least the writing is good.
James Patterson, well known for his adult fiction, was keen to get a piece of the Harry Potter type money. For any budding child fiction author out there struggling to get a piece of the aforementioned pie, having to compete with Patterson would be similar to have to run 100 metres against Hussain Bolt. With a broken leg. And no feet. Or eyes. And having to run 200 metres. You get my point, it’s a bit one sided. For you see, unlike a lot of trash out there aimed at kids, it’s not all that bad.
Enough cynical sleights regarding the politics of publishing and more about the book. With the ever growing battle against technology infecting our children, we must champion every book there is that ‘cuts through’ the vicious hold that screens have. So chucking in cool pictures throughout the book as click bait is fine by me.
In this adventure, the main star is a middle school kid called Sammy. His big issue? His mom (sic) is an inventor. One of those whacky professor types (not ‘Nutty’ in case we get sued) who means well, but causes a plethora of trouble for their children. In case you haven’t worked it out yet, she invents a robots, lots of robots, including a robot ‘brother’ for Sammy. E, short for Einstein Jnr.
Now, I would have thought having your mum invent you a robot to take to school would be awesome! It would have guns, it would fly, blow things up… no, remember this is someone’s mum who has invented it. So it corrects grammar, gives safety advice and is pretty much just a robot mum that follows Sammy around. But it’s not quite finished properly.
Of course, this kind of setting can only lead to one thing… yes, that’s right ‘hi-jinks’. Over the course of the book we are introduced to every aspect of Sammy’s life – back story if you will. From the robots for when he was born, to the rock band his parents and school principal play in, as well as his little sister Maddie, who somewhat unbelievably is labelled contra to every other book of this nature, as ‘the coolest sister in the whole world’.
The clichés and token gestures aside, it’s a good read and will keep your 7-11 year old busy and entertained over the summer.
REVIEWER: Drew Thompson
TITLE: House of Robots
AUTHOR(S): James Patterson
PUBLISHER: Penguin Random House