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Children's Nonfiction Inventions


Wild Robots Inspired by Real Animals

by (author) Helaine Becker

illustrated by Alex Ries

Kids Can Press
Initial publish date
Apr 2014
Inventions, Zoology, Boys & Men
Recommended Age
8 to 12
Recommended Grade
3 to 7
Recommended Reading age
8 to 12
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2014
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


Innovations in the world of robotics are multiplying, with many cutting-edge breakthroughs, and this exciting and timely new book for young readers explores one particularly intriguing area: the world of robo-animals, or zoobots. In an attempt to design robots that can solve problems or perform tasks that humans can't, or just can't do easily, roboticists have been looking at the unique skills some animals have. Using something called mechatronics --- mechanical and electrical engineering combined with computer science --- they are finding ways to closely mirror those skills in robot form. Some fascinating examples from the book of what zoobots can do include: finding survivors of a fire using sensitive, computerized “whiskers”; scaling skyscraper walls using super stickiness; or delivering drugs deep within the human body using microscopic whiptails for locomotion. Twelve zoobots are described, each on its own two-page spread.

Award-winning children's author Helaine Becker's text is comprehensive, yet clear and lively, and is made more manageable by being broken up into shorter segments. The futuristic design of the book includes vivid, detailed color illustrations by Alex Ries, of both the zoobot prototypes as well as the animals from which their skills were derived. This imaginative and interesting nonfiction book will definitely capture the imaginations of technology buffs. It also has enormous potential for classroom use in exploring everything from basic technology and robots, to engineering concepts, to inventions. A glossary and an index make it work well as a wonderful reference tool.

About the authors


Helaine Becker
est l'auteure de nombreux livres jeunesse primés. Elle a écrit plus de 80
livres, dont Raconte-moi les graphiques : L'histoire de William Playfair et
l'album illustré à succès Un porc-épic dans un sapin. Helaine
habite à Toronto, en Ontario.


HELAINE BECKER is the author of numerous of books of fiction and non-fiction for children, among them the best-selling A Porcupine in a Pine Tree and its sequel, Dashing Through the Snow: A Canadian Jingle Bells, The Haunted House That Jack Built and Little Jack Horner, Live from the Corner. Her books have won the Silver Birch Award and the CBA Libris Award and have been shortlisted for the Red Cedar, the Hackmatack and the Rocky Mountain awards. Helaine lives in Toronto with her family. Visit her at

Helaine Becker's profile page

Alex Ries is an illustrator and concept artist with a strong interest in real-world technology. He illustrated the award-winning children's book Zoobots. He lives in Melbourne, Australia.

Alex Ries' profile page


  • Runner-up, Silver Birch Nonfiction, Forest of Reading

Editorial Reviews

... this ought to engage the imagination of future scientists---and who knows what they might create? This one won't stay on library shelves for long.


As surreal and amazing as Becker's descriptions are, they come alive through the artwork of Alex Ries and the design of Julia Naimska. Each page is beautifully planned, laid out, and illustrated.

CM Magazine

Illustrations are large, colorful, and appealing, and the glossary and index are extensive ... the cover and content will find an audience among young robotics enthusiasts.

School Library Journal

Zoobots will intrigue many children ...

Quill & Quire

This book will capture the attention of future scientists and encourage them to think of inventing the next Zoobot.

Library Media Connection

Other titles by Helaine Becker

Other titles by Alex Ries

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