It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen and Kellee from Teach Mentor Texts (and brainchild of Sheila at BookJourney). Two of our blogging friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have inspired us to join this vibrant meme.

Last Week’s Review and Miscellany Posts

The Award-Winning-Books Reading Challenge is still open. Do join us and sign up if you are looking for exciting reading challenges with monthly book prizes. Click on the thumbnails/titles below to be taken to our blog posts.



What the note said: Please take me home! I am free for taking! - International Book Giving Day!
What the note said: Please take me home! I am free for taking! – International Book Giving Day!




Photo Journal/A-Z Photo Challenge: G is for Greens

GatheringReaders: Virtual Discussion on Where the Sidewalk Ends

Academic Nook: Reflections of a Cybils Poetry Judge

Book Hunting Expedition (40): Modest Book Loot



Our current bimonthly theme in GatheringBooks is Crazy about Cybils where we give love to all the books that have been shortlisted and have won awards in the Cybils since 2006. The 2012 Cybils Award Winners have just been posted last Valentine’s Day here. Do visit to check out amazing titles that should go directly to your to-be-read stack.

These three picture books have been nominated for the Fiction Picture Book Category in 2012. Since they have a common thread and have a similar theme, I thought of putting them together here.

IMG_5249Robot Zombie Frankenstein!

Story By: Annette Simon
Publisher: Candlewick Press, 2012
Book borrowed from the public library.

This is a book that I read aloud to myself – with matching voiceovers that became increasingly dramatic as I turn to the next page and the next AND THE NEXT. I think you get the picture.

Essentially, this is a book about two robot buddies who are doing a hilarious game of one-upmanship. Young children would find this delightful as each page contains very few text yet it manages to show the transformation of each one as one turns into a Robot Zombie! And the other robot pulls one over the other by becoming a Robot Zombie Frankenstein! Not to be outdone, the other Robot becomes a Robot Zombie Frankenstein Pirate! The formula in the narrative is so achingly simple, one wonders why it has never been done before! Well, at least, not that I know of. The word play and the aww-inducing ending topped with luscious pie (… with fork!), and the inevitable ‘Mexican standoff’ among these two robot-friends would definitely make this an absolute favorite in most households.

Traction Man and the Beach OdysseyIMG_5247

Story and Illustrations By: Mini Grey
PublisherJonathan Cape Book, 2011
Book borrowed from the library.

Reminiscent of the film Toy Story with toys coming to life, this Mini Grey picture book revolves around the story of Traction man and his friend Scrubbing Brush – they are going on a holiday! The “big and sparkly” wide ocean excites Truffles, the new dog, and the golden-haired boy who is carrying Traction Man along with a little bag of goodie toys.

Things become dicey when Traction Man and Scrubbing Brush get washed up on the shore and a young girl with her dog Fluffy chanced upon them and unceremoniously dumped them inside the girly-girl pinkish-pink Beach-Time Brenda Bucket. The Dollies wearing varying shades of pink clothing and “light pink, mid pink or sick pink” accessories were so happy to have Traction Man with them, they cried out “You can stay in our castle For Ever!” – which inevitably made Traction Man want to escape more than ever. Typical male. I could see that there were attempts to go beyond the gender role expectations in this fun book as could be seen in the ending with the Dollies wearing excavation shorts and cave helmets – and the clear attempt to portray the girl dollies in a sardonic fashion in the beginning with “fluttering eyelashes” and “unrealistic vital statistics” on the back of the book cover. However, others may still view it as perpetuating gender role stereotypes with macho Traction Man and the simpering dolls handing out Raspberry Ripple.

IMG_5248Boy + Bot

Story By: Ame Dyckman
Illustrated By: Dan Yaccarino
PublisherAlfred A. Knopf
Borrowed from the Public Library.

This is a story that I feel would resonate with a lot of young boys. There is an unusual connection between most boys and machines – very Transformer-like. A fascination that seems to be within their bloodstream – the desire to tinker, disassemble, repair, break apart… then fix.

What I enjoyed most about this book is that boy and bot regarded each other to be so similar in most respects that they did not even realize that they ‘operate’ differently. When Bot’s switch was accidentally turned off, Boy thought he could ‘fix’ him by feeding him applesauce, reading him a story and tucking him in during the night. When Bot woke up and saw Boy fast asleep, he thought that Boy malfunctioned. The robot proceeded to ‘fix’ Boy by giving him oil and reading him an instruction manual. This story reminded me a little bit of Raymond Briggs’ Snowman. Now I could understand why most of our blogger friends are fascinated with this story.

Currently Reading…

the storyteller

Admittedly, I have not made much progress with Antonia Michaelis’ The Storyteller as I am currently absorbed with finalizing the book titles for Project Splash! Asia. And so I am reviewing a few water-themed novels such as Linda Sue Park’s A Long Walk to Water among others (if I find the time to read them all, that is). One of those moments when I wish that I have more than twenty-four hours in a day and that I can spend the entire day just reading and writing.

How about you, dear friends, what have you been reading this week?


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Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

11 comments on “Monday Reading: Of Robots and Boy Dolls

  1. shelleyrae @ Book'd Out

    How lucky to find a book for international book giving day!

    Have a great reading week
    Shelleyrae @ Book’d OUt


  2. What a great mix!


  3. Gigi McAllister

    What a great reading week you had. I still have not read Boy+ Bot. I am trying to get my library to order it. Have a great week.


  4. Loved Boy + Bot, & know there are many young children who will like it, Myra. The other robot book looks fun, too. I’m not so sure about the toy one. Hope your week is a little less busy! (A Long Walk to Water is not to be missed!)


  5. Boy + Bot and Robot Zombie Frankenstein look like winners for my second graders.


  6. Thought The Boy on Cinnamon Street and The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight were both very fun reads. Those picture books look excellent! I’ve heard wildly different things about The Storyteller, so I’m eager to hear what you think when you finish.


  7. Hip hooray to Cybils! I also have the goal to read all the Cybils winners- in most categories… I even have enjoyed a few book apps!


  8. Henry in Love is so stinkin’ cute! 🙂

    Have a lovely reading week! What Are You Reading This Week @ The Brunette Librarian


  9. This is the first time I see The Boy on Cinnamon Street. Great children books selection. Loving this blog. I’m a new follower.

    Jess@ Jessy’s Bookends


  10. This is a great mix of titles. I adore cinnamon so will have to give The Boy of Cinnamon Street a try. Maybe while eating cinnamon toast. Thanks!


  11. I just put The Boy on Cinnamon Street on my TBR list. I’ve been hearing good things. I’m a big fan of Boy + Bot. Ame Dyckman is hilarious on twitter! Such personality. This is a really fun book. I’ve gifted it a few times and it always gets rave reviews.


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