It is Monday. My sons have another snow day, even though there is no new snow on the ground. The snow is coming, or so they say.
I recently got a copy of Little Robot by Ben Hatke (published by First:Second). My ten year old son, Alex, took it. He does that a lot. We “share” books, which usually means he keeps them in his room and feels a disturbance in The Force when I manage get my hands on them. So far he has claimed the Timmy Failure series (by Stephan Pastis), LumberJanes (by Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis and Noelle Stevenson) and anything by Matt Phalen or Gene Luen Yang.
When I mentioned I wanted to write about Little Robot, he ignored me and kept playing MineCraft. Did I mention he is 10? I started with a general “what did you think about the book?”
Alex: It’s good. It’s more for little kids, except for the no underwear situation.
I made him close MineCraft and talk to me because I did not understand anything he was saying, plus … snow days. Tried again and this time things made much more sense.
Alex: First off, I liked it. I know it is supposed to be for little kids because a) the main character is a little kid, and b) there isn’t much reading and you know, teachers wouldn’t think it was really reading. Also, little kids might not ask too many questions.
Alex: Yeah. First off, where are her (main character’s) parents? She’s got a brother who goes to school and then POOF, she’s out of the window and exploring. Also, why doesn’t she have any clothes on? I mean, if she’s old enough to go make fake robot art, repair real robots, and find dead animals. Shouldn’t she be wearing pants? Or, shoes?!?
Me: How do you know the main character is a girl? And, what about the little robot?
Alex: She’s wearing a nightgown (eye roll and implied DUH!). Also, she’s too nice. I think a boy would have on shorts and no top (redacted conversation about nipples). The robot? The main one? I think it’s a boy, but that’s probably because there isn’t anything boy or girl-ish about it and I’m a boy, so I think of it as a boy.
Me: So if you were a girl?
Alex: First off, no. But, I’m guessing a girl would think the robot was a girl. I guess the author was pretty smart that way. It’s a book for all little kids.
He returned to MineCraft to build an entire city scape that rested on top of layers of TNT. He planned on blowing it up later in the afternoon while he videotaped the explosions. He’s 10.
8 thoughts on “Little Robot”
Love love love this post. There is nothing quite like getting feedback from the readers the book is intended for!
Thanks! I’ll let Alex know his thoughtful review was being read.
I love that conversation. Great to read about Alex’s candid thoughts about this book. 🙂
I’m working on a longer piece that deals with intersectionality and critical reading using the conversation I had with him as a focus.
Why is this in the Graphic Novels to Toss category? Am I missing something?
Yes – most likely. Read the review. Let me know if the link isn’t working.
I don’t understand why this book is in the Graphic Novels to Toss category. There are two reviews, one by your son who seemed to enjoy the book and one by you about intersectionality that ends with the lines: “Would I put this book in a classroom? Absolutely, without question. It is a great book.” I understand the criticisms of the book, but my take away from the reviews was that it was still a good book.