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DFC Library: Mo-bot High Hardcover – 28 Oct 2010
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"From that very first page it's just a fantastic, uncontrollable riot of a story, absolutely brilliant fun . . . Grange Hill with giant manga-style robots" (Forbidden Planet)
"Nothing short of brilliant and a must-read for any graphic novel-loving boys of aged 9+ . . . Mr Cameron's work is incredibly dynamic and bursting with colour during the superb robot fight action sequences, and then suitably toned down for the day-to-day school scenes . . . In Mo-Bot High Neill Cameron has delivered a modern comic book that has strong appeal to both boys and girls and he should be commended for this" (Book Zone For Boys)
"Neill Cameron updates Transformers for a new generation . . . But there is a lot more going on here than giant robots and spectacular fight scenes - the sinister dinner ladies, and ominous comments about Asha being 'the Harbinger' give this a touch of Doctor Who-style mystery alongside the technological awesomeness" (Armadillo Magazine)
"Mo-Bot High is a winning fusion of the sensibilities of the school-based serials of British Girls weeklies of the '70s and '80s with a contemporary Manga influence . . . Playground politics combine with dark conspiracies in a strip which can be succinctly described as Grange Hill meets The Transfomers" (Broken Frontier)
Bright! Colourful! Slapstick! Pun-tastic!
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The DFC Library is perfect for reluctant readers. If you know a child that struggles to engage with ordinary fiction, place a DFC Library title in their hands, and watch as they learn to love books. This growing collection, full of hilarious plots, will appeal to anyone aged 9-90 - so feast your eyes on The DFC Library!
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Young Asha starts at a new school where the usual playground games are considered a little too, well, childish. Here the kids entertain themselves with spectacular duels, donning Digital Mobile Combat-suits - effectively giant robots that - get this - materialise from their mobile phones. Take note, Apple. If this feature doesn't appear on the iPhone 5, I'm not buying.
Cameron's artwork is a joy. His key elements all have their own style: human characters are colourful and distinctive, with a pleasing hand-drawn look; the deliberately drab 'real world' backgrounds contrast nicely with the vibrant geometry of the digital environments; and the robots themselves, all glowing joints and with a slightly retro vibe, are actually more Tron than Transformers. His writing is also spot-on - the story has a pleasing sense of its own absurdity, with teachers apparently oblivious to the mayhem being wrought under their noses (or rather over their heads), and dinner ladies who are not at all what they seem - and the kids' dialogue has the ring of truth, and lashings of deadpan humour.
The book's title hints at a Part Two in the works. I'll be looking out for it - in the meantime, I thoroughly recommend Part One.
Mo-Bot High's brilliantly drawn, colourful robots and tense action scenes will appeal to children (and grown-ups) of all ages, and the book has definite teen appeal as Asha struggles with high school cliques (with a difference - these are Mo-Bot cliques, after all). There are hints of Asha's family problems, too. Mixed in with all the mystery and drama is great humour - I especially adored the "fashion battle" experts Jessica and Sophie, who made me laugh nearly every time they opened their mouths.
Filled with action, suspense, brilliant tongue-in-cheek humour and amazing illustrations, this book is wonderful and I highly recommend it.
What makes it stand out though are not only the quality of the drawings - and they are very good - but the realistic characters and sly sense of humour. I particularly liked the fact that most of the characters are female, giving this book a universal appeal.
Looking on his website, it seems that Neill does a fair bit of work in schools, and it shows in his writing. I loved the concept of the dinner ladies secretly running the whole school - something I have long suspected...