Runaway Robot

Publisher: Macmillan

Alfie is a bit bionic. He has a robotic hand and when he loses it at the airport, he trots off to Lost Property. But instead of his hand, he finds Eric.

Eric is 6 ft six, made of metal and loves to sing. He can answer any question (except the ones he doesn’t know the answer to) and will spit fire if something upsets him. And, like Alfie, Eric is missing a limb.

Unfortunately, he also has a tendency to squash police cars and anything else that gets in his way. Oh, and he’s also illegal, so unless Alfie can keep him hidden, he will be crushed at the R-U-Recycling scrapyard. Can Alfie save Eric from destruction? And should he even try if the news reports about a dangerous, rogue robot are true?

Although Alfie’s world is full of robots, his story is essentially about what it means to be human and all the mistakes, mess and vulnerability that go along with it. As with Frank Cottrell-Boyce’s other books, a comical façade drives a crazy plot but just below the surface is a poignant and touching human story. Hilarious, complex and hugely satisfying.

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