Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot
By Dav Pilkey
Pictures by Martin Ontiveros
Ricky Rocotta is a young small mouse (who wears glasses) and lives in Squeakyville with his mother and father, and is often lonely. Bullies pick on him and so he wishes something BIG would happen. The appearance of Dr. Stinky McNasty whose evil plot threatens to destroy the city sets the tone for this very engaging little book which makes use of animation style illustrations, uses flip-o-rama (with the reader creating movement, and sound effects if desired) and has detailed instruction pages for drawing the characters.
Dealing with issues familiar to many kids this young mouse is easy to relate to, and the edgy illustrations (similar to Manga) gives this book a cool factor that covers the simple wording. The books are engaging, humorous and entertaining (every permutation of cheese makes an appearance throughout the series). There are several books in the series all drawing on outer space and villains and ultimately good wins over evil.
Dav Pilkey is also the author of “The Adventures of Captain Underpants” and is a master of books that engage young readers – not always the choice of school libraries – but it gets the kids reading. Probably conceived as a pre-chapter book for emergent readers this Ricky Ricotta works very well with pre-adolescent inner city boys who struggle with suitable material and enjoy the adventures of this underdog (!) mouse and the nasty villains he encounters.
For weak readers adult involvement of reading is essential. Set aside some time every day (20 minutes) to share reading together. If the child is weak do not allow them to “read” to themselves, you must hear them. Some children are skilled at the illusion of reading. It is ok to take turns at reading. If the child is unable / unwilling to read try the first book with you reading and them following along and they can do the flip-o-rama. Handling the book is good, and once they start to find it fun they will have some encouragement.