Geeger the Robot Goes to School

S. & S./Aladdin. (QUIX). Sept. 2020. 80p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781534452176.
K-Gr 2–Science fiction and school humor are combined in this new, early chapter book series. Geeger, an earnest young robot, consumes spoiled food. He converts the waste into electricity to power the town of Amblerville. The book does not question the enormous amount of wasted food in our agricultural and retail systems, but it does wonder what would happen if the waste-munching robot got lonely. And so Geeger attends school, where he mistakes the teacher’s globe for a giant moldy fruit and almost eats a jump rope at recess. The stakes could not be lower and tension remains minimal. Geeger briefly loses his backpack and finds it again. He frets about making friends, and a girl introduces herself before he sets foot in the building. The teacher proves unfailingly patient, even when he eats her classroom tools. The book, like Geeger, has a goofy amiability but never becomes riotously funny; the illustrations reflect the written content, rather than introduce any amusing or insightful visual disconnect. The QUIX books aim to distinguish themselves from competitor Scholastic Branches by offering text features such as a glossary and questions about the story. The brief glossary definitions are clear, and the defined words are bolded in the text. But so are character names, some of Geeger’s dialogue, and some other words, which dilutes the effect. The questions focus on reading comprehension and text-to-self connections, and will likely be ignored by kids reading for pleasure.
VERDICT The booming young chapter book market has space for more sci-fi and an eternal appetite for school stories; this series kickoff will satisfy many burgeoning readers.

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