Frank Cottrell-Boyce’s latest adventure for children is jam-packed with Cottrell-Boyce’s trademark humour, brilliant characters and some fantastic illustrations by Steven Lenton.
Runaway Robot tells the brilliantly original tale of Alfie, very much human but with a bionic hand, and the life changing day when he finds an enormous one-legged robot called Eric in the local Airports’ Lost Property. Striking up an unlikely yet utterly heartwarming friendship, together, Alfie and the charmingly chivalrous Eric, try to recall the memories behind their missing body parts without leaving too much chaos and carnage in their wake!
Accompanied by a class A cast of characters, all fantastically thought-out and diverse, I couldn’t help but love them all, particularly Shatila, a young girl who’s at the Limb Lab with a bionic foot after stepping on a mine in Bosnia. But it’s Alfies’ boyish charm and distinctive voice that really drives the narrative forwards. Cottrell-Boyce has a knack for capturing the first person voice of a child and it’s this confidence and flair that enables the reader to really connect and root for Alfie as he struggles to remember the accident that left him with his bionic hand.
The Limb Lab was a really fascinating setting for me; I mean super intelligent 3D printers that create perfect bionic body parts is unreal! And Cottrell-Boyce doesn’t stop there. He’s created a wonderfully warm and witty world inspired by all thing science and technology with robot street cleaners, self-driven buses and charming houses that greet you upon arrival. But as our own world gets closer and closer to a machine-led future, Runaway Robot makes for an incredibly thought-provoking and timely narrative that will evoke many questions for both young and older readers surrounding humanity, machines and our roles together. What essentially makes us human? What possibilities are there in an automated future? What does artificial intelligence reveal about our own humanity? How will human and machine co-exist in the future?
Confidently written with heart and humour, the unputdownable Runaway Robot will have children roaring with laughter and wanting a best friend robot of their own!