Leo Timmers is a Belgian author-illustrator who originally trained as a graphic artist and the illustrations in his newest book “Franky” reflect his training. The drawings have a cartoon-like quality with the use of dialogue bubbles for his characters. The placement of objects and characters on the page is whimsical and very visual.  The book was originally written in Flemish and translated by Bill Nagelkerke.


Sam is crazy about robots.  He believes robots exist somewhere in the universe.  He is the only member of his family to do so.  Finally, after he had enough, he decides to built his own robot using anything he can find around the house.  His creation is Franky, a robot who understands how Sam feels.  Franky and Sam play everyday, but Sam doesn’t tell his parents about his new friend.

After many weeks, Sam finds Franky standing quietly in front of the window. He stands there all day.  In the middle of the night, Franky wakes Sam and says “They’re here.” And, of course, a space ship filled with robots lands on Sam’s lawn.  Sam knows that they have come for Franky.  Think “ET goes home.” Sam has lost a friend, but his belief in robots has been affirmed.

Young readers will love the illustrations and all the zany robots that inhabit the story.  Friendship, belief in oneself, and pursuit of your convictions are all themes that can be found in “Franky.”

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