Thursday, January 28, 2010

REVIEW: Robot Zot!

Robot Zot!Scieszka, J.  (2009).  Robot Zot!  New York:  Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.


Appetizer:  Warlord Robot Zot has arrived on Earth to conquer the Earthlings.  As his battles begin, it turns out he's after different Earthlings than the reader would expect.  As Robot Zot seeks to conquer foe after foe, he finds someone worth fighting for.

So very imaginative and fun!

Jon Scieszka uses onomatopoeia, rhymes, repetition and a fun rhythm to tell Robot Zot's adventure.  It's hard not to be energized by this story.  For reals, I was reading silently to myself, but I found that I HAD to read this book out loud.  And you know, maybe pump my fist up in the air a couple of time.  Luckily, nobody saw this.  Cause, the last thing I need is people knowing I'm crazy.

A teacher could easily have students chant some of the repeated lines throughout the story, like Robot Zot's battle cry:

"Robot Zot--Never fall.
Robot Zot--conquer all!"

...that's quite a phrase to have students repeat to themselves.  Kind of The Little Engine That Could's "I think I can.  I think I can," for a new and even more determined generation.

With a lot of humor, David Shannon's illustrations do an excellent job of showing readers a new perspective into some very ordinary objects.

I more than kinda-sorta could have done without the last page though.  Someone is blamed for all of Zot's distraction and I felt very bad for the poor character.  Wah.

Dinner Conversation:

"Robot Zot--
Wham Bot!
Robot Zot--
Bam Bot!"

"No one stop Robot Zot.
Robot Zot crush lot!"

"Zot was not joking.
Zot is never joking."

"Zot blasts into another
bunker.  And there he sees
her.  The most amazing Earth
Zot knows that she is the
Queen of all Earth."

To Go with the Meal:

While probably best to entertain, energize and encourage students, a teacher could in theory bring this book in to share with even middle grade or young adult students to show the destruction Robot Zot leaves in his wake.  Some teachers may also object to having this book in the classroom because Zot is a very violent figure.  Even though his attacks are aimed at objects instead of living creatures, some still may not like the underlying aggression.  (And this is understandable, it's not too unusual to do a superhero read aloud and have one young listener turn to his or her neighbor and pretend to or actually punch another kid.)

With kids of all ages, an art teacher could focus on the way the the book shows different perspectives on ordinary objects, and students could do their own sketches or paintings reflecting that style.  (Other books that play with perspective this way include Too Many Toys or Chris Van Allsburg's The Sweetest Fig.

Tasty Rating:  !!!!

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