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Robot Zot!

Last updated Thursday, May 20, 2010

Author: Jon Scieszka
Illustrator: David Shannon
Date of Publication: 2009
ISBN: 1416963944
Grade Level: 1st    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Jun. 2010

Synopsis: Robot Zot crashes into an alien environment (the suburbs), battles with fearsome kitchen appliances and a challenging transmitter (TV), and rescues the Queen of all Earth (a toy cell phone) before zooming off "to distant galaxies to bravely save more days." The text's rhythm is a bit odd, moving back and forth between prose and rhyme, but the short declarative sentences will make it approachable for early or reluctant readers, and the melodrama keeps it fun. Shannon's crazy, action-filled illustrations can be a little confusing, but also contain so much humor (including jokes that are absent from the text) that children will be happy to stick around and decode them. The bold, funny, over-the-top text and art are the perfect complement to one another. Seemingly inspired by sources such as Star Wars and Toy Story, the most important message of this lighthearted tale is that reading really is fun. School Library Journal review

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What do you think this story will be about?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Have the children try to imitate a robot voice.
•  What is Robot Zot looking at through the window? How big do you think the earth is through the window?
•  Where did Robot Zot land? How did he get there? How big is he? Predict what might happen to Robot Zot in the kitchen. How do you know?
•  How do the machines look like people?
•  Are the machines really a threat to Robot Zot?
•  What does affirmative win?
•  What is earth's shiny captain? (He is seeing his reflection in the toaster)
•  What does it mean to be victorious?
•  Who is talking to Robot Zot about fresh breath?
•  Look in the background and guide the kids to notice the man in the kitchen. Who is he? What is he doing? (Looking confused at the broken toaster).
•  What is Robot's new enemy?
•  Who is the queen of all earth that Zot fell in love with?
•  What is Zot is scared of? Why does the queen call him chickenbot?
•  Who is Earth's most fearsome commander general? Does he look mean?
•  Before you reveal what happens to the dog, have the kids predict what they think will happen when Robot Zot fights the dog?
•  Why does the human ignore Robot Zot when he takes the dog away (Robot Zot looks like just another toy)?
•  Why is the dog getting yelled at on the last page? Why do you think he looks confused?
•  Do you know of any other love story between robots? (Wall-E & Eva)

Craft ideas:
•  Draw one of your toys as a robot? Draw what it might attack in your house.
•  kids.simon&Schuster.com (look on the back cover)
•  Make your own robot mask with alumininum foil.

Special activities:
•  Try to find the 2nd dog in the story (it's very small in a window).

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!