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Great Illustrated Books

House of Robots

James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein; Illustrated by Juliana Neufeld

LBYR, 2013
Pages : 352
Suggested Ages: 8-12
ISBN: 978-0316405911

Sammy Hayes-Rodriguez has a pretty interesting family. His father writes graphic novels and his mother is an expert in robotics. Sammy has a close relationship with his sister Maddie, who has an immunity issue and isn't able to attend school. Also, the Hayes-Rodriguez house is full of robots. 

 Sammy is a pretty average kid. He and his best friend, Trip, mostly avoid trouble at school by not drawing any attention to themselves. All that changes when Sammy's mom introduces them to her newest robot, E. E will be attending school with Sammy from now on and E's first day at school is awful. E takes over every class and starts a food fight at lunchtime, which completely embarrasses Sammy. After the principal declares that E is not ready to attend school, Sammy thinks he's in the clear but that turns out to be false.

 After a little work over the weekend and a stressful time brought about by Maddie having to go into the hospital at the same time, E heads back to school with some adjustments. Sammy is less than thrilled, but it quickly becomes clear that not only is E going to fit in, but he is going to be popular ... and Sammy becomes popular by extension.

This is a quick and fun read that kids are going to love. Like many of Patterson's kids books, it combines words and images to terrific effect. The relationships between Sammy and his family were carefully constructed and felt "real". Sammy's relationship to his sister is particularly touching. The book also does a great job of taking on the issue of bullying while also being highly entertaining. Kids will be eagerly awaiting the sequel to find out what happens next to Sammy, E and the Hayes-Rodriguez family.

Reviewed by : SS

Themes : ROBOTS. TECHNOLOGY. FAMILY. SIBLINGS.

If you love this book, then try:

Kinney, Jeff. Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2007.

Patterson, James. I Funny: A Middle School Story. LBYR, 2011.

Pierce, Lincoln. Big Nate: In a Class by Himself. HarperCollins, 2010.

Critics have said

"A fast-moving plot, lots of jokes, and a host of weird robots will draw readers in"
- School Library Journal