Monday, July 22, 2019

Review - If I Were A Robot

If I Were A Robot
by Scott Gordon
illustrated by
Date: 2012
Publisher: S. E. Gordon
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 54
Format: e-book

Have you ever dreamed of being a robot? What would you do? How would you do it? And most importantly, what would you create with your newfound powers?

Find out what a young boy discovers when he visits the land of dreams, and builds his own vision of the future. From the author of My Little Pet Dragon, My Crazy Pet Frog and Ninja Robot Repairmen. Over 40 pages in all.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

I love how the synopsis declares, "Over 40 pages in all!" As if quantity is the important thing here.

That attitude shows in this slapdash "story" about a boy imagining what he would do if he were a robot. The first part is boring, but not terrible. He'd have a suit of armour and fancy weapons so he could fend off pirates and the Evil Overlord's army (whoever they are). He'd have a secret workshop and design rockets to reach distant worlds. He'd even build himself a robot dog for company. But then, in the latter half of the story, things get weird and existential. Suddenly, the narrative switches to almost all dialogue, and we get to read a conversation between a disembodied voice that echoes "into eternity" and the boy (who's now a rusty old robot stuck on a planet all by himself). The boy decides he doesn't want to be a robot and joins his father for dinner.

Because this book is put together with stock imagery from various illustrators, it has no cohesive style. There are plenty of pictures similar to what we see on the cover... but also plastic-looking 3D-rendered humans, random sparkles on a gradient background, paintings of rusty robots, pictures of planets, Dalí-esque imagery, and computer-generated sci-fi landscapes. The book looks like it's having an identity crisis.

This author is certainly prolific, and while I'm sure his own kids probably enjoy his attempts at picture-book writing, I don't think these titles are really suitable for public consumption. This is actually the second book I've read by this author, and I'm probably less impressed with this one than I was with the first. I'm just glad I picked this one up as a freebie; I'd be really annoyed right now, otherwise!

Premise: 1/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 1/5
Illustrations: 2/5
Originality: 1/5

Enjoyment: 0/5

Overall: 0.83 out of 5

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