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Children's Fiction Robots

Ben's Robot

by (author) Robin Stevenson

illustrated by David Parkins

Orca Book Publishers
Initial publish date
May 2010
Robots, Imagination & Play, Friendship
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2010
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2013
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 6 to 8
  • Grade: 1 to 3
  • Reading age: 6 to 8


Seven-year-old Ben loves pretending to be a robot, but his best friend Jessy is tired of being ordered to oil his knee joints and check his batteries. She says the robot game is boring and runs off to play with someone else. So Ben decides to build a real robot instead. He's built all kinds of things before: wind generators, solar-powered marble launchers, pinball machines. But none of his creations have ever really worked. Until now.
When his robot begins talking, Ben is thrilled. However, nothing goes quite the way he thinks it will. Ben's robot is rather difficult to get along with. He complains a lot. He's bossy. He never wants to do anything Ben suggests. Having a real robot isn't nearly as much fun as Ben thought it would be. And to make things worse, no one—not even Jessy—will believe him.

About the authors

Robin Stevenson is the award-winning author of more than 25 books for kids and teens, including the board book Pride Colors, the picture book Ghost’s Journey: A Refugee Story and the nonfiction books Kid Activists and Pride: The Celebration and the Struggle. The first edition of her nonfiction book Pride: Celebrating Diversity & Community (2016) won a Stonewall Honor and was shortlisted for numerous other awards. Robin lives in Victoria, British Columbia, where she attends Pride celebrations with her family every year, but always leaves her dog safely at home.


Robin Stevenson's profile page

Phyllis Root is the author of BIG MOMMA MAKES THE WORLD and many other award-winning books for children. She says, " Aunt Nancy is my grandmothers and aunts — women who never let the world get the better of them — all rolled into one." She lives in Minneapolis.
David Parkins has illustrated numerous books for children, including WEBSTER J. DUCK by Martin Waddell and Egyptian Diary by Richard Platt. He lives in Lincoln, England. C

David Parkins' profile page


  • Short-listed, Chocolate Lily nominee
  • Commended, CCBC Best Books
  • Commended, Resource Links "The Year's Best"

Excerpt: Ben's Robot (by (author) Robin Stevenson; illustrated by David Parkins)

Ben ran over to the bike rack. "Jessy, guess what?"
   Jessy waved goodbye to her dad and turned to lock up her bike. "What?" She took off her helmet and smiled at him.
   "You know my robot I've been building?"
   "Of course." Jessy looked interested.
   "Well..." Ben looked around to make sure no one was listening. He spoke in a whisper. "I know this sounds crazy, but it really works."

Editorial Reviews

"Stevenson, whose son inspired this story, certainly knows the heart of children like Ben and can communicate the fun and frustrations of learning…This delightful story, which tells the tale of an adventurous little boy, will keep young readers flipping the pages to see what will happen next. Highly Recommended."

CM Magazine

"A great additional purchase as an early chapter book, with accessible text and decent plot. Illustrations are charming."

Puget Sound Council

"Within a simple story, Robin Stevenson subtly weaves the elements of imagination, friendship and loneliness, along with a bit of mystery and magic. With just a few details, she fills out Ben's personality...Parkins' fine illustrations are fun and move the story along easily for the new reader. His googly-eyed robot is a gem."

Canadian Children's Book News

"A fun read that should attract young readers."


"A story which will be enjoyed by both male and female audiences, Ben's Robot highlights the challenges of friendship, play, imagination, and sharing…This is a humourous, imaginative and creative story that will hook reader and imagination alike. Highly recommended."

Resource Links

Librarian Reviews

Ben’s Robot

In this early chapter book Ben wishes that either he himself could be a robot or that he could have a real working robot of his own. This desire becomes somewhat obsessive and his friends and family get a little tired of the fixation. When Ben’s homemade recycled robot suddenly seems to come to life for him alone, he has to decide if this ‘thing’ is more important to him than his real friends and family. Nothing goes as Ben thinks it will in this story. He ultimately learns two things: change is good and no object is as good for you as your family and the companionship of a real ‘live’ friend.

This is Stevenson’s first book for very young readers. He has written several novels for older students and young adults.

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. BC Books for BC Schools. 2010-2011.

Ben’s Robot (Orca Echoes)

When his robot begins talking, Ben is thrilled. However, nothing goes quite the way he thinks it will. Ben’s robot is difficult to get along with, and having a real robot isn’t nearly as much fun as he thought it would be. To make things worse, no one will believe Ben, not even his best friend, Jessy.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2011.

Other titles by Robin Stevenson

Other titles by David Parkins