You know you’re in for a treat when a new Frank Cottrell-Boyce lands on your doorstep. ‘Runaway Robot,’ is a quirky heart-felt adventure that brilliantly combines humour and heart. Since Alfie had his accident, where he lost both his hand and his confidence, he’s been hiding away at the Limb Lab. Trying to come to terms with his new prosthetic hand is difficult and he fails miserably to fit in. Unlike the other children he can’t get his new prosthetic to work and he can’t return to his real school until he does. Stuck in a weird limbo he decides to skip school and visit the airport and soon discovers something strange lurking in the lost property, Eric. Eric is six foot six, likes to sing, is super polite, oh and just happens to be a one legged-robot. Striking up an unlikely friendship they cause chaos and carnage wherever they go. But Eric has a mission and he won’t let anything get in his way, can Alfie find a way to help him and himself unlock the secrets in their pasts?
I was totally swept away by this madcap adventure, laughing and cringing in equal measures as Alfie and Eric lurched from one catastrophe to another. Frank’s imagining of this futuristic world where pizza ovens deliver your pizza and driverless buses is really brilliant. Strangely it feels like you could touch it, it’s so close and yet in my mind it still feels like a lifetime away. For me that made the story feel more real and added to the warmth I felt about this compelling tale. The characterisation is genuinely brilliant and wonderfully diverse. I particularly loved the brittle Shatter who initially terrifies Alfie but in the end is there for him when it matters the most. Steven Lenton’s illustrations are a joy to behold, he captures the heart and the humour of this story magnificently. Underlying this humorous story you feel that something is not quite right and Alfie feels it too as he struggles to remember the accident that changed his life forever. I was completely surprised at the twists and turns that this story delivered and it left me with a huge smile on my face and a warm glow inside.
Thank you to Amber and Macmillan for sending me a gifted copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. ‘Runaway Robot,’ is available to buy now online or from any good bookshop.