Sunday, December 23, 2012

Book #358: Robot Zombie Frankenstein by Annette Simon

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One robot is pretty amazing, but what happens when two amazing robots meet one another? An epic battle of robot one-upmanship! After sizing each other up one robot zips away only to return dressed as a zombie proudly proclaiming, “Robot Zombie!” The other robot mutters under his breath and quickly changes into a robot zombie Frankenstein! The competition rapidly builds until the two machines are staring each other down dressed as Robot zombie Frankenstein pirate superhero-in-disguise outer space invader chefs! Who will win the battle? Will it be a tie? What could possibly trump such gruesome and wonderful costumes?

The text of this silly book builds the urgency of the competition in simple, yet humorous dialogue between the two robots. The text is printed in big black letters, making this oversized book a great read aloud. Readers will giggle at the unexpected ending that shows the two new friends bonding over a cherry pie. (Don’t ask me why the robots want/need to eat; it works within the ridiculous framework of the story). The digital illustrations use brightly colored shapes to create the hilariously expressive robots that stand out against the crisp white page. As more dress up items are added shapes are layered on top of shapes. Simon has cleverly deconstructed the shapes that make up each robot and they are spread out on the endpapers.

This book is great fun to out loud, although you may want to practice saying “Robot zombie Frankenstein…” a few times because it can be a tongue twister. This is also a wonderful book to read with a storytime guest. The dialogue of each robot is easy to pick out on the page and evenly distributed, making it fun for two readers. 

Use this book for a robot storytime and pair it with If I Had a Robot, Oh No! (Or How My Science Project Destroyed the World) or Boy + Bot.

This book would also be a hilarious addition to a Halloween or monster themed storytime. Try pairing it with other monstrous stories, such as The Monsters’ Monster, If You’re a Monster and You Know It, Go Away, Big Green Monster! or the classic, There’s a Monster at the End of this Book.

Finally, this book is a fun introduction or snappy wrap up to a storytime about shapes. Good titles to pair include, My Heart is a Like a Zoo, Go Away, Big Green Monster!, Round is a Pancake or Boat Works.

Follow up by creating your own robot zombie Frankensteins, like Stephanie Petersen’s children did. To make this craft easier/faster provide precut paper shapes. You could use foam shapes instead of paper. Also, check out the printables in the fun kit provided by the author.

Read more about the inspiration and creation of this book in Tara Lazar’s interview with Simon and an interview conducted by Mr. Schu. For a taste of the illustrations and humorous tone of the book, check out this short book trailer.


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