I was lucky enough to read a proof of the original Boot last year that opened immediately reminiscent of THAT scene in Toy Story 3, you know the one where all the adults start to lose it and sob uncontrollably, Boot started as it means to go on, action with heart and questioning the value we place on things and the capricious affections of humanity. This sequel equally tugs at the heartstrings and tickles the funny bone as Boot is determined to rescue a fellow sentient robot.
Boot is perfect for the 7-9 market who want slightly more story from their books but not quite ready for the longer investment Middle Grade Fiction can demand and still want picture. Basically perfect for my Littlefae.
Life at Dr Twitchy’s Amusement with the other robots is good until Gerry loses his nose and it’s all Noke’s fault, so they plan to find him a new one at the Testing Lab.
Trying to find the spare parts section Noke and Boot accompanied by Poochy discover that the Testing Lab turns out to be a sad place for broken robots to go to be useful until they die testing out the limits of new goods for humans.
Hiding from human staff Boot breaks a chair that another robot was testing by sitting, standing and sitting again. And reveals he is sentient and Boot cannot bear to leave him behind.
After escaping the Testing Lab it is clear that their new friend Rusty needs cheering up so the gang try all sorts to bring a little glow to Rusty’s broken heart… but what’s missing?
Boot is a powerful character representing child readers he is a ‘real’ conscious with feelings and questions but is not valued because he resembles a toy which may resonate with young children who may feel the same that their thoughts and worries are dismissed as unimportant. He is also playful and silly and caring, making those around him feel loved and he is also funny as Littlefae took great joy in reading out funny sections to us!!
Boot doesn’t just have flavours of the Toy Story franchise but also touches on Pinocchio, WALL-E and other sci-fi questions about robots such as I Robot, AI and the recent Humans by looking at the concept of consciousness, this time not in everyday toys or marionettes but robots.
There are hints and questions about the consumerism and throwaway culture we inhabit that will toss out of date, slightly imperfect or needing repair gadgets as easily and unthinkingly as chewing gum, and challenges this by asking us to consider if those items had human-like feelings.
Despite the deeper themes of consumerism and what it means to be human and the experience of sadness it isn’t all darkness and seriousness there is plenty of humour, silly slapstick and childlike fun and there is also a lot of warmth, kindness and friendship between the robots making this a fabulous book about finding our own happiness and helping others to find theirs (which is not always the same idea as our own).
The illustrations by Ben Mantle are wonderful and playful; sweetening the potential weight of the topic matter to be equally lighter and more accessible to young readers.
I like this book, it was kind how Boot rescued Rusty. It was really funny when they scared the children in the bouncy castle place. They were scaredy cats!!Littlefae
Overall, this is a fabulous follow up by Shane Hegarty and Ben Mantle and Littlefae enjoyed it thoroughly too giggling away.
Boot 2 The Rusty Rescue by Shane Hegarty and Ben Mantle is published by Hodder Books