Kevin has had enough of homework and household chores, so he buys a robot to do them for him. Simple, right? Ah, but there’s a catch: No one is to know the robot is not him. When Kevin attempts to tell the robot about himself, he discovers that he has a lot of information to share.
In this quirky picture book by Japanese author/illustrator Shinsuke Yoshitake, readers will delight in learning more about Kevin starting with straightforward details, such as where he lives, his likes and dislikes, and things he can and cannot do. Yoshitake’s comic-strip-style illustrations and Kevin’s observations have instant appeal, and many are guaranteed to make readers chuckle. After all, this is a boy with a mole on his bottom, who is adept at picking all the peas out of his dinner, and who leaves a constant trail of mess behind him.
Kevin doesn’t stop at the basics. As he delves into what makes him HIM, he highlights the baby he once was (and still is somewhere inside him), and the person he might become. He shares his perception of how others see him and realizes that there are many things only he knows. Despite the self-exploration venturing into potentially complex philosophical territory, the content is never overwhelming. Yoshitake clearly labels each segment, breaks text into manageable chunks, and provides a series of humorous spreads and vignettes that entertain and inform the reader. The busy world inside Kevin’s head—complete with castle, helipad and train track—is one gloriously surreal example.
After processing all this information, surely the robot now has enough detail to be Kevin. Or does he? Read this wonderfully humorous and thought-provoking book and you’ll find out!
Originally published in Japanese by Bronze Publishing, Inc. in 2015.
By Shinsuke Yoshitake
Translated from the Japanese [translator unknown]
2016, Thames & Hudson Ltd.
Laura Taylor is the founder of world children’s literature blog Planet Picture Book. She is a small business copywriter, NAATI-certified translator of French into English and member of AUSIT and IBBY Australia. When she is not writing, she is reading, and chasing after her two young children. She tweets regularly @plapibo and posts at www.planetpicturebook.com
2 thoughts on “#WorldKidLitWednesday: Can I Build Another Me?”
I would love to see the publishers of Shinsuke Yoshitake’s picture books in English both #namethetranslator(s) and name the source language, as you have done here, Laura!
Thanks, Avery! Re: #namethetranslator I am astonished at the number of times I have been unable to find translator information mentioned in picture books/reviews, etc. It is as if the English version magically appears from thin air.