________________ CM . . . . Volume VIII Number 1 . . . . September 7, 2001

cover A Crazy Case of Robots. (Barnes and the Brains).

Kenneth Oppel. Illustrated by Sam Sisco.
Markham, ON: Scholastic, 2001/1994.
57 pp., pbk., $4.99.
ISBN 0-439-98824-1.

Grades 3-5 / Ages 8-10.

Review by Gillian Noonan.

*** /4

excerpt:

"'Hey!' said Kevin, pointing at the robot's head. 'That's my camera!'
'As a matter of fact, it is,' said Tina. 'It was perfect for my purposes.'
'And that's my CD player, too!' Kevin exclaimed.
'Kevin, please,' said Tina. 'You're making a scene.'
'You should have asked! I've been looking for that stuff!'
'You should be delighted that I've been able to make use of it in such a remarkable invention.'
'But why does it always have to be my stuff?' Kevin wanted to know. Tina pretended not to hear.
'Where did you get all the other parts?' asked Giles. Giles imagined Tina, skulking around with a flashlight at night like a grave robber, pocketing automobile parts and bits of gutted TVs.
'Does it talk? someone in the audience wanted to know. Tina smiled indulgently and turned to the robot.
'Introduce yourself,' Tina said to it."

image A Crazy Case of Robots is the third book in the "Barnes and the Brains" series by award winning author, Kenneth Oppel. As in the previous books, it is the antics of Kevin and Tina Quark ("local geniuses") and their neighbour/friend, Giles Barnes, which propels the action. For her school science fair project, Tina Quark builds a robot, Tinatron 1000, who has been programmed to do everything to perfection. Of course, in the real world, especially at Giles' house, the quest for perfection is difficult. When Tinatron tries to help Giles' mathematician mother solve a difficult problem, the robot's system is overloaded, and Tina Quark must re-evaluate what is really important to her.

     This is a fun story for readers venturing past early chapter books. The story, which has a familiar theme of the struggle between technology overshadowing the basic values of life, has enough action and is well-paced to keep the reader's interest. A light read for developing readers.

Recommended.

Gillian Martin Noonan is a teacher living in Old Perlican, NF.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364

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