Norton and Alpha by Kristyna Litten

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Norton and Alpha by Kristyna Litten

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sam Tyler
Reviewed by Sam Tyler
Summary: Norton is a robot who likes to invent things like Alpha, his pet pooch. The duo set out on a luscious adventure that will teach them that just because something is not practical, does not make it worthless.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: February 2017
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's UK
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781471145773

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We are used to the world around us and every day take amazing things for granted; a sunset, or that cold bite in the air that makes you want to go and walk the dog. To a robot, our world would look pretty strange as everything would be new. What would you think the first time that you happened upon a flower?

Robots are cool, but robots that build other robots are even cooler. Norton is an inventor and one fine day he created his robot pal, Alpha, the robot equivalent of a dog. Together they go outside to gather more materials so that even more things can be built. In a world of scrap they are surprised when they stumble across IT. This strange thing seems to be organic in nature and has a nice smell, what on Earth is IT, and is IT worth keeping?

Norton and Alpha is a deeply charming book that starts with a slightly melancholy soul, but opens up wonderfully towards the end to warm the cockles of one's heart. To begin with Norton is alone, but Alpha soon arrives bringing with him companionship and a partner to go out hunting. The first half of the book is just a joyous trip around an amazing scrap world with two robots. It is not until they stumble across a flower that the plot truly thickens.

Litten is able to engage the reader by keeping the character of Norton curious. What would a robot inventor do should they come across a flower? Experiment on it of course! The fact that it does not fit into any known algorithm he has means that the flower appears useless, but is it? It is the surprise at the end of the book that lift the reader.

The wonderful, touching story is helped in no small way by Litten's own illustrations. The planet is painstakingly realised with loads of things to look at. The characters of Norton and Alpha are also very cute and you can imagine them as a children's cartoon series or a set of toys. Litten uses the entire page and has a slight pastille feel to her work. There is also a nice touch with the surprise element of the book as a double spread page opens up even further.

Norton and Alpha is a simple story well told that feels like it may be sad, but is actually uplifting. Any child will love it, but a fan of robots will adore it. Adults will appreciate the art and the fact that it has a warm heart. It also teaches an interesting lesson that just because something does not appear to have a practical function does not mean that it should be automatically discarded.

Another great tale that centres on a flower is The Lorax by Dr Seuss, whilst more adventurous dogs can be found in Ludwig the Space Dog by Henning Lohlein.

Buy Norton and Alpha by Kristyna Litten at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Norton and Alpha by Kristyna Litten at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Norton and Alpha by Kristyna Litten at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Norton and Alpha by Kristyna Litten at Amazon.com.


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