Weird Little Robots

Book review by
Carrie Kingsley, Common Sense Media
Weird Little Robots Book Poster Image
Girls find friendship and love of science in engaging story.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

There’s a bunch of practical science here -- mostly robots and ornithology -- and Penny Rose has a huge amount of emotional awareness.

Positive Messages

People’s quirks are celebrated as gifts that make them unique, science is embraced, and kindness is key.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Penny Rose’s parents are patient and understanding with how she feels in her new neighborhood, and support her without pushing.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that science, invention, and friendship intersect beautifully in Caroline Crimi’s Weird Little Robots, illustrated by Corinna Luyken.  By slowly building engaging characters, the story is full but not rushed, and each character’s quirks become endearing. Science is constant throughout, from tinkering with robots to birdwatching and more. Readers who like longer sentences, more advanced vocabulary, and a detailed story will likely stay engaged, and it could be challenging for readers who prefer shorter, sharper chapters.

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What's the story?

As WEIRD LITTLE ROBOTS begins, shy 11-year-old Penny Rose is new to the neighborhood and spends all her time alone, tinkering with robots in the shed in her backyard. When the robots seem to come alive, her world changes. She becomes best friends with Lark, her quirky birdwatching neighbor and classmate, and is asked to join a secret science club at school. The problem is, the group only wants Penny Rose, not Lark, who has long been shunned by the kids at school. Penny Rose’s robots have been a big part of her happiness, but she puts them -- and her friendship with Lark -- in danger to join the club.

Is it any good?

This engaging robot tale mixes science and friendship in a well-told story that unfolds slowly, with lots of detail and attention to the inner thoughts and feelings of Penny Rose and Lark. Weird Little Robots celebrates quirks and friendship and how valuable it is to be authentic. The girls are free to be themselves when they’re together, shedding insecurities and not worrying about being cool or measuring up to someone else’s standards. More advanced readers will likely fly through the pages, while anyone still getting used to longer chapter books will take their time to enjoy the story.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how, at first, Penny Rose seems to look down on Lark for the way other kids treated Lark’s odd behavior in Weird Little Robots but soon realizes they’re similar in their approach to the world. Have you ever looked down on someone but knew, deep down, that you were just as “weird” as them?

  • Would you have brought the robots to the secret science club, or left them in the shed?

  • What other books about friendship have you read?

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