ORVIS - H. M. Hoover

"I am a multi-purpose unit. I can even do windows."

ORVIS is an old, outdated robot with six legs and no face to speak of (despite what you might think from the cover art), and when we first encounter him he's on his way to the junkyard, programmed to deposit himself there despite his estimated 25,000-year battery life. Toby West and her friend Thaddeus discover Orvis and immediately feel sympathy for this cast-aside. Both of them have parents who are far away in space and have deposited them at the Hillandale Academy on Earth.

The story reminds me a little of "The Iron Giant" (the movie version, at least), since it has a sentient robot who's learning more about human nature. ORVIS, though, is definitely of human origin, and is not as innocent and lost as the Iron Giant. He has a slew of stored knowledge and a penchant for bird-watching.

Toby and Thaddeus both have their own family issues to deal with, and it raises some interesting points about interstellar flight and its effects on families. It's a pretty fast-moving book and covers a lot of ground in a short amount of time. I think it's an excellent book for young readers, particularly with a female protagonist who's in a sci-fi story.

Fed to jonathan's brain | March 05, 2007 | Comments (0)


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