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Baby Brains and Robomum: The Smartest Baby in the Whole World by Simon James

This is one in a series about Baby Brains, the first book of which is simply called Baby Brains.  The books are all about a baby whose parents turn him into a genius while he is still in the womb. Baby Brains is born with a massive intelligence and the stories all revolve around the idea that although it is brilliant to be a genius, you sometimes just need your mum and dad.

In this story Baby Brains notices how tired his mum and dad get every day, looking after him and doing all their jobs.  To help them, he invents a robotic mum who is supposed to do all the chores and let Baby Brains’s mum and dad have a well earned rest.  It is a lovely idea, but Baby Brains makes a few miscalculations and Robomum has to be deactivated so that Baby Brains can still have his cuddles and his bath time with his mum and dad.

The stories are gentle and funny and sweet.  They are moral without being sickly, and always come back to the message that family, and being together is best.

This is an interesting book for children because it takes the normal idea that mum and dad know best, and know everything, and look after you, and turns it on its head. Baby Brains is clearly the cleverest in the family, and children get to think about what it would be like if they were in charge.  The books always bring us back to the idea that although being clever is good, sometimes it’s the simple things that matter most, like who tucks you up at night, and that love is way more powerful than brains every time.

Educationally this would be a good story to focus on around Mother’s day or if you are teaching or talking about families, because it looks at what mum’s do for children and why they might do it.  It also points out that sometimes, even the tiring jobs are ones which bring us closer together as a family, and which actually let us show each other we care.  It would be interesting to start a dialogue with children about the different roles the family take on, and which jobs they think they should do to contribute to the family unit.

Baby Brains is also a lovely book to use to think about what it means to be clever, and what it means to be kind, and how sometimes we can forget what is important to us by trying to be too clever.

A fun exercise would be getting the children to design and invent their own robot for helping in the house and getting them to talk about what it would do.  They could either draw it or junk model it or both.

The illustrations are beautifully drawn and funny, with lots of detail to amuse older children, and adult readers as well as younger children.

The story is nicely laid out on the page with large, clear font, which would make it suitable for a confident, independent reader to have a go at on their own.  There are some complex words however, like ‘technology’, and ‘ambitious’ which they may struggle with, and which makes it unsuitable for less able readers to tackle on their own.

I would recommend it for 4-10 year olds.

This is a great book for boys and girls. Baby Brains is a boy, and a boy who likes boy things like inventing, and space rockets and cars, but he is also a cute baby, so it works very nicely for both genders.