R Is for Robot: A Noisy Alphabet

Book review by
Jan Carr, Common Sense Media
R Is for Robot: A Noisy Alphabet Book Poster Image
Robots + loud sounds = lots of phonics fun.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

R Is for Robot is an alphabet book, so it teaches the obvious prereading skill of recognizing the letters of the alphabet and associating them with their sounds.

Positive Messages

Working on a task can be fun. Working together is fun. If you encounter obstacles, just keep working. There's satisfaction when a hard job is completed. (These underlying messages are implicit in the art.)

Positive Role Models & Representations

The robots work to accomplish their task even when, as the art makes clear, they encounter obstacles or frustration. They're also pictured working together.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that R Is for Robot is the perfect book for interesting robot-loving prereaders in the letters of the alphabet and their sounds. While friendly and facially expressive robots toil away constructing the letters of the alphabet out of steel and girders (using power tools!), each page illustrates the VERY LOUD SOUNDS that accompany the construction. Grrrrr! Hisss! KAPOW! The book cries out for kids to chime in with active participation. From Ahoogah! to Zap!, this is phonics made fun.  

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What's the story?

Though R IS FOR ROBOT is an alphabet book, there's a clear story line: The robots are constructing an alphabet, accompanied by lots of noisy power tools and other fun sounds. They cart off A and B (Ahoogah, Beep Boop), bang on C (Clang Clink Crash Clank), and polish up D (Drip Drop). The story even includes obstacles to overcome -- J needs more girders? JOLT! -- and built-in urgency -- a clock on the T page shows time a'tickin': Tick Tock! Young readers may not worry that the robots will make it to Z (Zap!), but they'll feel lots of satisfaction at the end when the robots stand back to admire their fully constructed alphabet tower.

Is it any good?

While alphabet books can be lots of fun for an illustrator, they may be ho-hum for readers -- but not this one! Robots plus noisy onomatopoeia make for lots of participatory fun. There’s even a visual story threaded through. As the robots construct an alphabet out of steel and girders, they use tools that are LOUD, and the sounds on each page demonstrate the sound of the letter being constructed. ABCDE? That’s Ahoogah, Beep Boop, Clang Clink Crash Clank, Drip Drop, Eek!  There's lots of opportunity for interactive reading as kids gleefully chime in with the sounds.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the letters of the alphabet and their sounds. What are some of your favorite letters? 

  • How are these robots like humans? Have you ever started a task and encountered obstacles? How did you work to overcome them?

  • Do you like to build things? What tools have you used? How were they helpful?  How do you build something bit by bit? What were the individual steps you took?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love picture books and alphabet learning

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