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Teko Bernard
Bronson Beaver Builds a Robot
Teko Bernard, author
Bronson Beaver is a 13-year old master builder and aspiring inventor who has been rigidly groomed since birth to work hard and someday take over his family’s historic wilderness resort lodge. But for the first time in his life, Bronson attempts to ditch hard work. He decides to secretly build a robot to do his chores before his family’s annual pancake festival event. So he can instead play in a high-stakes video game tournament with his fellow-inventor friends Myron Mink and Franny Fox. With the hope of winning its large cash prize so they can finally build their dream workshop. But, when his robot’s wires get crossed, it instead creates more work and trouble for Bronson and threatens to ruin his family’s big event and any chance of making his dream a reality. It will require a lot of help from his friends and family to overcome the robot’s damages, save the event, and keep their hopes and dreams alive. In the end, Bronson ultimately learns the importance of honesty, responsibility, hard work, and friendship. Let’s inspire kids to be inventive and industrious as a beaver when pursuing their dreams. This slim, fast-paced chapter book aims to instill in young readers a spirit of creativity and invention, an appreciation for nature, and increased interest in STEM. This book is written for boys and girls ages 7-12 who enjoy fast-paced stories with short, action-filled chapters. Who like books about animals, nature, technology, and robots.
In this imaginative, middle-grade novel, Bernard (Bernard Jones is Going Places) introduces Bronson Beaver, a 13-year-old aspiring inventor who finds himself caught between friends and family responsibilities. When he learns that his family’s annual Pancake Festival overlaps with a high-paying video game tournament, Bronson must decide whether to help his mother and father or play for the prize money. Not wanting to let down his friends, who need the money to build a new workshop, Bronson invents a robot to work through his parent’s list of chores, allowing the young inventor to compete in the tournament. But when the robot malfunctions, Bronson must own up to his mistakes and rectify the situation before his family faces an important evaluation by a famed food critic.

This fast-paced young reader novel boasts a simple, engaging, well-written plot. Children with an interest in science and technology will gravitate toward Bronson, who, despite being a gifted inventor beaver, still proves relatable. Bronson’s friends, Franny Fox and Myron Mink, read like real teenagers: stubborn, frequently wrong, but always caring. The adults in the story, though, come across as uncommunicative and strict, personality traits that undercut the moral that hard work and relaxation must be balanced even as we all must take responsibility with what Bronson’s father calls “your own two paws.” Much of the book’s conflict could have been avoided if the adults talked to their son about how he was feeling.

Torn between hanging out with his friends and helping his parents with important chores, Bronson navigates the often-difficult world of growing up. The story’s lessons are welcome, especially for children facing increasing responsibilities as they age, and an emphasis on teamwork and diligence shines through. This novel moves fast enough to keep young readers entertained and may impart some wisdom along the way.

Takeaway: This fast-paced novel, focusing on a young inventor and his dueling responsibilities, is perfect for middle-grade readers interested in robot fun.

Great for fans of: Jackson Pearce’s Ellie, Engineer, Peter Brown’s The Wild Robot.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: B+
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: A-