cover image House of Robots

House of Robots

James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein, read by Jack Patterson. Hachette Audio, unabridged, 3 CDs, 3 hrs., $18 ISBN 978-1-4789-5585-6

In his audiobook debut, reader Patterson (the 16-year-old-son of the James Patterson) gives a heartfelt, animated delivery and, in tandem with the authors, proves that having a robot brother is a premise that does not just entail silliness. The robot is E, and the siblings are Maddie and Sammy Hayes-Rodriguez. Much to Sammy’s chagrin, E will be accompanying him to school, which lays the groundwork for three enjoyable hours of listening hors. After E disappears without a trace, the audiobook mesmerizes due to the plot and the reader’s performance. Authors Patterson and Grabenstein provide an appealing story line, with short chapters for those with comparable attention spans, never missing an opportunity to educate their young audience on severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), hand washing, and science. The authors never dumb down their amusing and meaningful lessons about friendship, family, and feelings, and the story is charming through reader Patterson’s wonderfully brought-to-life characters. Kudos to whoever had the idea of using synthesizer-style effects on Patterson’s voice for robot E. This technique makes an already delightful listen even more entertaining, and Patterson delivers age-appropriate voices for each character, adding a cartoonish lilt to keep young listeners engaged. Ages 8–12. A Little, Brown hardcover. (Nov.)