Mega Robo Bros by Neill Cameron
Published by Scholastic on March 27, 2018. Paperback of 96 pages at $8.99 and EBook at $5.99. Intended for ages 8 – 12, grades 3 – 7.
Note: I read an advanced copy so anything may have changed by publication.
The cover: Alex and Freddy happily speed through the streets of London, off to school or on another adventure to help the people of the city. This cover illustration is by writer and artist Neill Cameron, with the design by Phil Falco. I love seeing characters enjoying their abilities and both bots look as happy as can be as they’re flying. The city has a good amount of detail, making this frontpiece look believable. Flipping to the back cover, one can see what the heroes are about to collide with: a robotic multi-legged fighter, a robotic penguin, three robo dinosaurs, a robotic crab, and — my favorite — a giant robotic Buckingham Palace guard. They look great and I hope that the heroes get to fight all of these mechanical monsters. Overall grade: A
The premise: From the back cover, “LONDON! THE FUTURE! Alex and Freddy are just like any other brothers. They squabble. They drive their parents crazy. There’s only one difference…They’re the most powerful robots on Earth! But Alex and Freddy will soon discover that they’re not the only superpowered robots around. An evil robotic mind is making sinister plans, and their lives won’t stay peaceful for much longer…” Robot brothers? Fighting other robots? An “evil robotic mind”? Oh, yeah. Sign me up. I want to read this! Overall grade: A+
The characters: Alex (in blue) and his younger brother Freddy (in red) art the protagonists of this book and they are a lot of fun. They have the personalities of brothers: they argue, they fight, they look out for each other, they worry about the other, and they talk seriously when alone. Alex is much more serious than Freddy, who loves everything disgusting that middle school boys love. They want to do what’s right and they want to protect their city. They are fantastic characters. Their parents try to set them on the right path. Their father offers advice when they need it, though he does have some language issues as proven in the first chapter. Doctor Sharma is their mother, the technological whiz who tries to make the government see that the boys have their uses. The villain of the book is a good antagonist, who longs to see the boys in action and causes all sorts of trouble to gauge their strength. Robots of all kinds and sizes come at the boys in this closer-than-it-seems London. Every character in this book, from friends at school to a nihilistic pet robot penguin (Who is incredible!) are outstanding characters. Overall grade: A+
The settings: London’s near future is the setting, with the book traveling to Oak Hill School, Robo World, mom’s lab, the Natural History Museum, the streets of London, Buckingham Palace, and the building the boys and their parents live in. These are the typical settings one would associate with young boys in school or robots going through their training. The Natural History Museum was a hoot for the way it looks and what occurs there, as was Buckingham Palace. I enjoy books that use familiar locations and incorporate them into their flights of fantasy. It adds of sense of reality to the stories. The action on the streets was also good, because you can’t have robot chaos without helpless bystanders getting caught in their wake or to be saved by the heroes. I especially liked the flying train that swan dived. The settings are good in this book. Overall grade: A
The action: There’s no denying that the action in this book is off the charts. From the ordinary, such as getting permission to fly to school because they’re late, fighting dinosaur robots in a museum, battling the guards of Buckingham Palace, or confronting the uber villain of the book, the bros are involved in tremendous action sequences. You know you’ve read something good when you want to see it in a movie. Overall grade: A+
The conclusion: The big bad is confronted and the one of the bros gets an upgrade. It’s a perfect ending. Everything is wrapped up, but the door left open for more adventures. Overall grade: A+
The art: Neill Cameron’s visuals are spectacular. The level of detail on this book would be superior for an adult comic, let alone in a younger readers’ book. When robots are in a story I want them to be incredibly detailed: they are. I also want their opponents to be detailed: they are. I love the look of all the robots in this book. They are beautiful, cool, and scary as all get out, especially those dinosaurs! The brothers are similar enough, but have plenty of differences in their visuals to tell them apart without the addition of colors, though that helps. The human characters are equally fantastic looking, with the bros’ father emoting the most throughout the book. The settings are also exceptionally well done. When action goes down on the streets the details for the backgrounds are as strong as the characters inhabiting them. This is incredibly visual work. Overall grade: A+
The final line: Deez bros are tha bomb. Guaranteed to be loved by younger readers and anyone interested in robots. With luck the bros will be back soon. Recommended. Overall grade: A
To order a print copy of this book go to https://shop.scholastic.com/parent-ecommerce/books/mega-robo-bros-9781338185959.html