Friday, 29 March 2019

ReadItDaddy's Chapter Book of the Week - Week Ending 29th March 2019: "Boot" by Shane Hegarty and Ben Mantle (Hodder Children's Books)

We love books that sneak up and take us by surprise, and that was very much the case with this week's Chapter Book of the Week, the absolutely fantastic "Boot: Small Robot, Big Adventure" by Shane Hegarty and Ben Mantle.

Accessing a really early review copy (the book itself isn't actually out until 16th May) we wanted to adjust your heads-up display to make sure this one was on your inventory list.

"Boot" the titular robot in question is small, tiny and cute - and definitely a robot.

Boot's life begins when he wakes up at a scrapyard. He assumes that "Boot" is his name as that's the first word he sees.

Boot's memory is vague and glitchy, but he has clear recall of his owner, Beth. With a robotic concept of ownership, perhaps even love, Boot struggles to cross boundaries of feelings and emotions that robots really aren't supposed to have.

Boot decides to set out into the wider world to try and track Beth down. Aided and assisted by two other street-survivor robots, Noke and Red, Boot sets out on his quest - a tiny little robot in a sprawling metropolis. Boot will have to dig deep into his feelings, memories and his abilities just to survive.

Without a doubt, this is one of the freshest middle grade novels we've read in a long time. I handed it to C who practically devoured it in one day, and begged me to do the same. I expected the tale of a cute Wall-E style Robot but what I didn't expect was a middle grade story with a whomping great big robotic heart, and characters that genuinely made you empathic and sympathetic, despite their synthetic appearance.

Sum this book up in a sentence: Absolutely blisteringly original sci fi stuff for middle-graders with a robotic hero with a huge beating heart.

"Boot" by Shane Hegarty and Ben Mantle is out on 16th May 2019, published by Hodder Children's Books (kindly supplied for review).