Help ID: Young adults book about kid who builds robots (out of spare parts, I think)
May 31, 2009 11:32 PM   Subscribe

Help ID: Young adults book about kid who builds robots (out of spare parts, I think)

Hi everyone, pretty basic question for my first post. I would have read this book in the late 70s or early 80s, I think. Boy builds three (I think) intelligent (I think) robot friends out of spare parts (I think). The only other clue I can offer is a mental image I have of the boy and his robot friends drifting down a flooded river on the roof of a house. Given the vagaries of memory, of course, that mental image could be accurate, partly accurate, or from another book entirely. Any ideas?
posted by Alaska Jack to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I knew I read this, and through some worldcat sleuthing I found it!

Andy Buckram's Tin Men. It's from 1966. I remembered that the first one was made of paint cans and that only one could talk using a record player in its chest... I loved it as a kid but I knew the tech stuff was all a total joke even then.
posted by ulotrichous at 2:27 PM on June 1, 2009

Whoops, forgot it's long since out of print. Here's the worldcat link; enter your zipcode to find it in a library near you.
posted by ulotrichous at 2:31 PM on June 1, 2009

Wow, don't miss the amazon reviews! This book stuck with a lot of us. Sounds like it inspired Short Circuit a bit as well. Thanks for reminding me, I'm going to interloan it for my kids!
posted by ulotrichous at 2:50 PM on June 1, 2009

Nothing to add except that I can confirm the floating-down-the-flooded-river part. ulotrichous nailed it.
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 4:54 PM on June 1, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! Yeah, I second what ulotrichous said about the Amazon reviews. It's odd that this book seemed to stick in so many people's respective heads!
posted by Alaska Jack at 12:26 AM on June 2, 2009

OK, just to follow up, I interloaned this book and I've been reading it to my kids at bedtime. While there's some really great stuff in here about inventiveness and the roots of the maker movement and a great new exclamation (Andy starts about every third paragraph with "Great Frogs and Catfish!") The gender stuff in this old gem is just hopelessly fucked up and I had to stop reading it. I'm not reading my kids (boy 7, girl 3) stories where "clever boys" build robots while the girls are either scared of the robots, or only want to cuddle and love them. When andy gets all excited about building a "fat girl" robot that can talk and sing, as that's what girls are best at, I'd had enough. Good for nostalgia for adults, but the cultural context it comes from and inadvertently cements is pretty screwed up for kids today.
posted by ulotrichous at 7:50 AM on June 19, 2009

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