Shane Hegarty, illus. Ben Mantle
Hodder Children’s Books
Age 6-8 years
Boot is a small toy robot who is lost with only vague memories of his past. He finds himself in a scrapyard owned by a scary man called Flint who likes to ‘krush em kwik’. In this story Boot tries to find his former owner Beth and, on the way, meets other robot toys who can think and feel just like him. They help him to survive and search for his owner.
With themes of artificial intelligence, friendship, teamwork and memory this is a warm and engaging adventure story set in an all too feasible near future world staffed by robots. Boot is an appealing and inventive main character.
Share the story
Read the story aloud to your child pausing to talk about anything that intrigues them or unfamiliar vocabulary or ideas.
Talk about the story
There are lots of ideas in the story which might prompt discussion, here are some possible starting points:
After you finish share favourite scenes from the story – if your child is unsure share a scene you like, first adding why you liked it.
Talk about Boot, what your child thought of him and how he is different to other robots.
What do children think of Flint and why he behaves as he does?
Sharing this story might lead to talk about being a human and what makes us special.
Talk about your child’s first or early memories and share some of your own too.
This story would be a good opportunity to talk about dementia and its effects.
Listen to the story
Listen to the first chapter here on Soundcloud
Things to make and do
Make a junk model robot
Collect together old packaging to make a junk model of a robot. Children might like to try to make their own Boot, if so, looking back at early chapters in the book and the illustrations will help.
Draw a storymap
Draw an imaginary map of the different places in the story and Boot’s journey to find Beth. This could include: Krush ‘em Kwik Scrapyard, Dr Twitchy’s Emporium, the funfair and Easterly Bridge Care Home.
Make a soundscape
Think about the settings of the story and make a recording of the sounds. For example, children could make the sounds of Flint’s’ krush-em-kwik’ demolition yard using improvised instruments such as saucepans, scrapers and shakers.
Make a poster
Make a ‘rules of the street’ poster for lost, broken or rejected robots. Number 1 is ‘Never trust a human’, but children could add more of their own.
Write Boot’s story
At the end of the story Ed tells Boot: ‘life is an adventure’. Write and illustrate key scenes from Boot’s adventure starting from being given to Beth. You could make a mini book for your child to write this in.
Find out more
Find out about author Shane Hegarty
Find out about illustrator Ben Mantle
Find out more about robots
Find out more about dementia
Read another story about robots The Iron Man
Runaway Robot by Frank Cottrell Boyce