Boot: Small Robot, Big Adventure by Shane Hegarty, illustrated by Ben Mantle

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Cover and internal illustrations by Ben Mantle

When Boot wakes up in Flint’s scrapyard it has only two and a half memories, which is strange because its head and left butt-cheek should be full of them. It’s few, glitchy memories are of a girl called Beth, and it knows that she loves him. All Boot has to do now is find it’s  way back to her, if it can escape Flint and navigate the strange new world the little toy robot finds itself in.

Full of friendship and adventure, Boot is a heartfelt journey of self-discovery and finding home.

As Boot finds itself feeling, it explains the physical sensations that go along with these strange things humans call emotions, while his friends all have glitches of their own to adapt to. Flint’s determination to destroy any robots he can because he fears that technology will replace him, is unwavering, making him desperately unlikeable and all too human.

Ben Mantle’s illustrations bring the lovable little robot and it’s ragtag bunch of friends to life in a world where new technology rules, adding extra warmth, humour and charm to this brilliant, thought-provoking book.

What makes us human, artificial intelligence and technology replacing human interaction, and dementia are all up for discussion in an age appropriate way, making this an emotionally intelligent read that’s great for encouraging empathy.

Boot would make this a brilliant class read from Year 2 up (our Year 3 teacher has already borrowed it for his next class read), and is perfect for younger children looking for a longer, more challenging chapter book.

The first in a new series too, I can’t wait to see what life has in store for Boot and friends next.

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As part of the blog tour, I’ve been asked to revisit a piece of technology that holds special memories for me. Growing up in the 1980s there was an abundance of new technology hitting the shelves with frightening regularity.

From the age of 4 to 11, I was a frequent visitor to our local children’s ward to have my grommets replaced – tiny tubes which are inserted into the eardrum, allowing air to pass through the eardrum, which keeps the air pressure on either side equal, allowing me to hear.

The thing I really hated about being there was waking up in the middle of the night and not having my mum there to read me a story to help me back to sleep, or being able to snuggle up in a blanket in front of our calor gas fire and read to myself.

Which is where this was a game changer; the Walkman. A portable, personal cassette player I could listen to at any time of day or night. And, the first headphones didn’t sit in your ears, so they didn’t hurt after an operation. Whether it was tapes from my Story Teller or recordings my mum did for me, night times in hospital never seemed quite so long or lonely, unless the batteries ran out.

 

Huge thanks to Hachette Children’s for sending me a copy of Boot for review, and inviting me to take part in the blog tour. Do make sure you check out all of the other stops.

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