Superbot is a bright and colourful storybook for emergent readers who are moving on from reading schemes and are nearly ready for longer chapter books. Nick Ward carefully combines simple, accessible language with bright, energetic illustrations to deliver important messages about bullying and helping one another. He also employs classic comic book and superhero tropes, such as sweeping cityscapes and thought bubbles that young boys may find particularly engaging.
At her secret headquarters, on top of a giant sky scraper, Mrs Brightspark has invented a super robot who can track trouble and help children all over the city. It’s lucky that she has because, as Mrs Brightspark admits, ‘There is naughtiness all around us.’
The naughtiest of all is Bruto the Bad, and it falls to Superbot to stop this terrible toy destroyer from wreaking havoc in the local park. Not content with saving children and their toys, Superbot also confronts the source of Bruto’s naughtiness and offers him sympathy and kindness, which are even more powerful weapons than his slingshot and stun gun.
Children of infant age will love the gadgets and bright ideas that Superbot uses in his efforts to halt Bruto’s rampage and will also be gripped by some moments of genuine tension.
This short picture book offers a great deal to young children who are confident with decoding words but not yet ready to tackle the more complex narratives and mature themes that are found in chapter books. However, this represents a relatively limited audience and it is likely that some of the readers it attracts may find the language rather juvenile and the story somewhat predictable.