In a world where robot children are common place, Orphan Christopher is the only ‘proper’ boy at Mr Absalom’s workshop. He and his eccentric mechanical friends work for the callous engineer until one day a terrible accident turns their world upside down. In the light of their newly discovered knowledge, the friends set out for Ironhaven to demand answers from the allusive, world-renowned inventor Comier.
This heart-warming adventure explores the themes of friendship, loyalty and what it means to be human. The characterisation of the mechanicals, Jack, Round Rob and Manda, is so beautifully quirky you would be forgiven for thinking they are ‘real’ and allows you to question the morality of conferring sentience (the ability to feel emotions) onto robots.
Alongside the skilful characterisation, is a captivating narrative with unexpected twists and turns that children will love. It is easy to draw parallels between this novel and The Wizard of Oz and makes for great comparison across the texts between both settings and characters.
The language used by the author is outstanding, ideal for extending the vocabulary of pupils and leading to interesting discussions about words and their origins. For example, did you know that the words appellation is linked to the verb ‘appelle’ in French, as in Je m’apelle Jack, and means a name or title given to an object or being.
If you teach Year 5 or Year 6, this book is a must read – either as a class read or to use in shared or guided sessions – and would link beautifully a class topic such as inventions and inventors. Your more able readers would also be able to devour this book independently.
We have already used this book on our Upper Key Stage 2 Shared Reading course this academic year, but we are certain it will feature again at future courses we run in the year to come.
Tin by Padraig Kenny
Publisher: Chicken House