Growing up, Short Circuit was one of my favourite films that I would watch repeatedly, and Boot: Small Robot Big Adventure brought plenty of wonderful memories flooding back.
Despite having a head that is designed to hold millions of memories and some extra space in his bottom for emergencies, Boot has woken up in a junkyard with only two and a half memories. His limited memories are all of a girl called Beth, his owner, and so he sets off to find her. But Boot’s hopes of finding Beth look to be short-lived as he immediately finds himself in the sights of angry junkyard employee, Flint, and his robot crushing machine, The Grinder. After surviving this close encounter and just about keeping all his nuts and bolts intact, Boot heads out into the city but finds that things are not as he remembers. The robots are all acting strangely and Boot has many problems of his own. His communication system has become scrambled, he has no idea how to find Beth and his only lead is a circle shaped sign with an orange background and a sideways white triangle shape on it. Boot’s hopes of finding Beth look very slim indeed…
This is a great little adventure story that is set in a futuristic world that may not be all that far away. The world is a mishmash of humans and robots working and living together; obedient and dead-eyed robots carry out tasks and are at the command of their human owners whilst drones zip about the city delivering parcels. Boot is different to these robotic machines though, he has emotions and feelings - something that is strange to him as he has never experienced them before.
Boot’s adventures are great fun and there lots of funny moments as Boot finds himself in the clutches of a human that wants to adopt him as a pet and then needs to escape her son that wants to dress him up as a leprechaun. Out on the city streets, he is desperately trying to avoid being peed on by a dog, is wary that he could be picked up at any moment and stripped and sold for parts and is all the while trying to avoid crazy Flint and his Cutter Robots.
There are a brilliant cast of supporting characters that Boot meets at Dr. Twitchy’s Emporium of Amusements which is kind of like a home for unwanted and thrown away robots. Even with some very supportive friends to help Boot on his way, things are far from straightforward. Rusty and indestructible Noke is in desperate need of a battery charger before his power runs, out, Poochy is a malfunctioning dog who struggles to stand up and robot Red will explode if she gets too hot
The book is illustrated throughout by the brilliant Ben Mantle and the relatively short chapters make it an easy, engaging and accessible read for many. The story features messages on friendship, self-discovery and finding where you truly belonging.
Shane Hegarty writes with a great awareness of his young audience. This delightful and heart-warming read will have readers hooked from the beginning and the fast-paced action will keep them glued to the pages.
Recommended for 7+.