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Month in review

Reviews
Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
Autokind Vs. Mankind by Kenneth R. Schneider
Bat and Rat by Patrick Jennings
Blue Pills: A Positive Love Story by Frederik Peeters
Bohemians edited by Paul Buhle
By Book or By Crook by Eva Gates
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator by Roald Dahl
Clean Sweep! Frank Zamboni's Ice Machine by Monica Kulling
Cupcake Cousins by Kate Hannigan
Desolation Angels by Jack Kerouac
Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
The Girl Who Raced Fairyland All the Way Home by Catherynne M. Valente
Good-Bye, Chunky Rice by Craig Thompson
Hamster Princess: Of Mice and Magic by Ursula Vernon
Hunters of Chaos by Crystal Velasquez
I See Kitty by Yasmine Surovec
Little Robot by Ben Hatke
Locke & Key, Volume 1: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill
The Long Utopia by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
My Little Pony: Micro-Series: #3: Rarity by Katie Cook
One Book in the Grave by Kate Carlisle
The Outside Circle: A Graphic Novel by Patti Laboucane-Benson
Sherlock Bones 1 by Yuma Ando
Summer Showers by Kate Hannigan
Three Bears in a Boat by David Soman
Trailer Park Fae by Lilith Saintcrow
Vested Interests: Cross-Dressing and Cultural Anxiety by Marjorie Garber
Wandering Son: Volume 2 by Shimura Takako

Miscellaneous
The road not taken

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



Little Robot: 04/12/16

Little Robot by Ben Hatke

Little Robot by Ben Hatke is a graphic novel tale that reads a bit like a warm snuggly mash up of Lilo and Stitch and the Rust series by Royden Lepp.

A little girl crawls out of a window and walks along a dirt path that leads to an old dump or perhaps an illegal dumping site. There finds a robot who has fallen off the back of a truck on the road above. Through some combination of curiosity, ingenuity, and luck she manages to activate the robot.

The girl walking through the dump.

In the early chapters she's trying to teach him how to work and how to talk. If he breaks something, she tries to fix it. When he appears lonely, she tries to make friends for him. Her first attempts aren't successful, though.

Later she has to step up to help protect her new friend from retrieval robots. If they have nefarious reasons isn't never stated but these robots do play the role of the antagonists in this otherwise quiet and charming book. Initially I read the book for entertainment. Ben Hatke remains a popular author both with children and with awards committees. Even if he weren't the author, I would have still be drawn to it, seeing a young girl of color sitting on a hillside with a robot at her side, and a wrench in her bag.

Little Robot in a car

What I didn't expect was for the book to fit in beautifully with my road narrative project. The meeting of the girl and robot is in the context of a junkyard along a dirt road. The girl finds parts to fix the robot, and later, build more robots (with help), from the discards in the dump. Later the abandoned cars provide solace and safety for the robot. In thinking in terms of Kenneth R. Schneider's Autokind vs Mankind the robot is the embodiment of micro mobility. The robot factory and the retrieval bots coming from an ultra clean, human-free environment are the near future nightmare of the self-driving and self-replicating vehicle, as seen in both Schneider's work and the shorter but equally memorable children's parable, The Endless Pavement by Jacqueline Jackson.

In the world of Little Robot, humanity is relegated to homes along the border of a junkyard. They meet and play amongst their discards. They hide from the robots. The robots meanwhile "live" in ultra modern buildings, drive along well maintained roads, and take advantage of the suburban dream.

Five stars

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