A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Brother from a Box is a charming, somewhat silly tale of sibling rivalry between a 12-year-old New York boy and a French robot named Norman. There's a fair amount of talk about how weird girls and moms are, and some minor lies are told, but most of the action is gently humorous. In one scene, someone brandishes a gun but never fires it. Norman resembles a son Matthew's mother lost years before -- a plot element that may be disturbing to young kids.
What's the story?
Twelve-year-old Matthew Rambeau is home alone when a shipping crate arrives from France. Inside is Norman, a robot designed and programmed by Matthew's father and uncle. Once assembled, Norman seems likeable enough, but Matthew's mom doesn't like him, and Annie Bananas, the annoying girl downstairs, wants to flirt with him! While Norman adjusts to American schools, Matthew has to learn how to behave with a robotic sibling in the apartment. Norman resembles a son Matthew's mother lost years before -- a plot element that may be disturbing to young kids.
Is it any good?
Told in a breezy first-person narrative by Matthew, BROTHER FROM A BOX provides a good number of laughs and lightly suspenseful situations. Matthew is a little too quick to tell a white lie, and he spends a lot of time moaning about how weird girls and moms are, but his heart is in the right place. Iacopo Bruno's engaging black-and-white drawings add an extra dose of humor and action to the story.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how this story differs from other robot stories you've read or seen in the movies. Are robots usually positive or negative characters?
Do you think it would be fun or werid to have a robot brother?
Do you think robots or computers will someday be able to think and act like human beings?
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