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According to Phil - A Young Thinker's Guide to Robots Review by Brittney Rutherford

Amy Leask
Enable Training and Consulting, Inc.
Red T Media

If you have a child interested in technology and robots, According to Phil - A Young Thinker’s Guide to Robots, by Amy Leask, is a fun and informational read. The book is written from the perspective of Phil, a friendly robot designed to help young readers learn fascinating facts about robots.

The interesting thing about this book is that it is part book, part workbook, but it doesn’t feel like homework. It is colorful and interactive. The book begins with an introduction from Phil, and then he asks children what they know about robots. They think about this by answering, right in the book, a series of questions by checking yes/no/maybe boxes in a chart. I love that this gets the children thinking about their perception of robots, rather than jumping right into facts.

The book does teach facts, like the difference between robots and androids and cyborgs, and the history of robots, dating back to the thoughts of Ancient Greeks and Persians. Then there is a timeline of sorts, that highlights interesting advances in mechanics and robotics from 350 BC to 2006. There is a section about the parts of a robot, as well as the vocabulary of a robot, including information about binary code.

Interspersed throughout the book are interactive pages. There is coloring, writing an interview with a robot in a comic strip, writing your name in binary code, and doing a robot activity with a partner, among other activities. I really like that this isn’t just a book of facts, but it has the reader interacting with the information.

This book is written for children ages 6-11 years old, and I think this is a good target range. My boys are nine and eleven, and enjoy all things robots, and this book was suitable for both. Younger students might need the text read to them and to dictate their answers, but the text is accessible for the younger reader without talking down to the older reader. If you’re using this book with more than one student, I would suggest everyone having their own copy, since it is consumable. The activity pages aren’t standard comprehension questions, but instead allow for individuality and creativity. Overall, I think this is a great introduction to robots, or a fun review for those who have already read a lot about robots.

-Product review by Brittney Rutherford, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, September, 2018