Book of the Month – February

Boffin Brainchild

by Jill Jennings

When Tom ignores a museum sign and touches a robot, the last thing he expects is for it to decide to follow him home. Boffin Brainchild is a heartwarming story of a boy and a robot which blurs the boundaries between artificial intelligence and what makes us human.

Complex ideas such as free will, and how we all learn and develop as people, are explored sensitively and in ways which will both appeal to and inspire young readers.

‘Just like a human child,’ the blurb reads, ‘Boffin Brainchild learns by looking, listening and copying those around him.’ The reader is quickly drawn into a powerful and funny journey where naive Boffin develops and grows, all the time facing unexpected dangers and problems.

Determined to be a boy, and not something to be stared at in a museum, Boffin causes endless dilemmas for Tom – and the reader – in a sequence of rouses to hide the robot’s true identity.

This book has bite and will appeal to reluctant readers – especially boys interested in machines and computers. Reading this book aloud is a treat. The robot’s funny repetitious phrases and quirky dialogue work well with younger children and help underpin the character. The fast pace and flow of narrative twists and turns will keep any primary aged pupil engaged throughout. A satisfying ending and lots of possibilities for a sequel round off an ideal book for Year 5.

Boffin Brainchild is our book of the month for February 2014.

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About Tom Tolkien

Photo of author
Tom Tolkien is a highly qualified (BA Hons, PGCE, QTS) children's literature expert and teacher with over 25 years of experience. He has led inset courses, developed curriculum materials, spoken at conferences, advised on longlisting for several international children's literature literature awards and written for educational publishers including contributing to a BETT award-nominated app. Social profiles: Twitter | Linkedin