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The Winter of the Robots
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The Winter of the Robots

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  100 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
Seven feet of snow, four science-fair nerds, one creepy junkyard.
Get ready for the ultimate robot battle.

Jim is tired of being the sidekick to his scientific genius, robot-obsessed, best friend Oliver. So this winter, when it comes time to choose partners for the science fair, Jim dumps Oliver and teams up with a girl instead. Rocky has spotted wild otters down by the riv
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published October 8th 2013 by Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2013)
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(showing 1-30)
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Jan 07, 2013 Jodi rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013-read
The thing I love about reading books by Kurtis Scaletta (who you should know is a friend of mine), is that they zap me back in time to when it seemed my only responsibility and the only thing I wanted to do was read the book in my hand. His books make me read while eating, read while “watching” TV, and read way late into the night so I can find out what happens.

Today his latest The Winter of the Robots is to blame for my advanced tiredness. I even knew what was going to happen and there I was at
Susan Niz
Such a fun, original story, great sense of place, suspenseful, engaging characters, and... lots of ROBOTS--realistic and fictional. Awesome read for MG girls and boys!
Becky B
The science fair is coming up, and once again, Jim's best friend Oliver wants to build a robot. Jim is less than excited about getting stuck building the things for the robot to destroy, so when the girl next door invites him to join her project observing the lives of otters, Jim jumps on the chance. (It also doesn't hurt that Rochelle (Rocky) is kind of cute.) To do their otter observations, the two go into an old junkyard down by the Nomicon disaster remnants and set up cameras (which Jim borr ...more
2.5 stars

Jim Knox is doing a robot project for the school science fair. But things get complicated when he and a few friends find huge, dinosaur-like robots lurking in the ruins of a labratory. What is the secret behind the lab, and why are the robots starting to hurt and kill people?


Just writing that summary got me unwanted memories of this story.

I was looking for something to read, and just grabbed "The Winter of the Robots" of the shelf. It sounded like a toy franchise made for 7-year-old
Ms. Yingling
Dec 28, 2013 Ms. Yingling rated it it was amazing
Jim and Oliver like to make robots for their school's science fair, and are debating what kind of robot and what the robot can destroy when Jim's neighbor, Rocky, asks him to help her with her project-- observing the otters near their homes, using security cameras "borrowed" from his father's business. Something odd keeps showing up on the security cameras, and when Dmitri, one of their classmates, goes missing and later shows up in the laundromat tased and frost bitten, they boys know that some ...more
Dec 23, 2013 Summer rated it it was ok
True to the Goodreads rating system, this was just okay for me. The actual plot that you read about on the inside cover doesn't begin until you are halfway through the book, and only a few events leading up to it even have much relevance in the long run. I feel like this title is two seperate books mashed together- the kids who build robots for the science fair-and then the kids who find out there are robots in the junkyard, and neither one does a very good job resolving their plotline. The char ...more
Marathon County Public Library MCPL
It’s science fair time but Jim’s best friend Oliver always wants to build robots so he chooses a girl partner named Rocky. He “borrows” cameras from his father’s security business and places them in a hidden junkyard in an attempt to study otters for their project. They don’t find any otters, but discover strange noises and movement coming from this allegedly deserted scientific corporation. What they uncover unites these friends as they use their combined wits to build a gigantic, war-ready, di ...more
Karen Gedeon
Jims often feels like a second wheel as every year his best friend Oliver controls their science project. Oliver chooses the project (always a robot) then designs, builds and codes it himself. This year Jim has had enough and chooses a new partner. Seventh graders Jim, Oliver, Dmitri and Rochelle (aka Rocky) start out as two rival science teams, but soon end up together trying to solve the town’s biggest secret in an abandoned junkyard. With the help of some family and friends the kids must deal ...more
Jim knows, far in advance, that his science project will be building a robot with his best friend--or, more accurately, watching his best friend build their robot. So when an opportunity for a different project presents itself (monitoring otters with the girl next door), he jumps at the chance. But the otters become the least of his worries when they discover the robots that are already in that junkyard...

Scaletta again delivers a perfectly-tuned account of pre-teen (or early-teen) angst and dra
Becky Loader
Jan 19, 2014 Becky Loader rated it it was amazing
I am now a big fan of Kurtis Scaletta!

I love the kids who populate the story: smart, flexible, a little goofy, lovable, mistake-making, and good-hearted. Mix in real-life parents, robots, a deserted junkyard,robots, a scary man who makes astute observations, robots, great adults who treat kids like people,robots,a mysterious burnt-out factory, robots, smart kids, robots, supportive siblings, robots, otters, robots, Minneapolis setting, and (did I mention?) robots and this is a sterling read.

Shannon O'Donnell
Aug 23, 2013 Shannon O'Donnell rated it it was amazing
This was the most original MG story I have read in a long time. I loved it. The main characters are varied in their personalities, yet united in their friendship. I fell in love with each of them. And then there is the kicker . . . robots! Any kid out there who is even a little bit interested in robots MUST read this book. I was riveted by the detail and cool things Scaletta had them doing. Add to that some dinobots, cool cars, and a dash of young love, and you have the recipe for an ideal middl ...more
Brandy Painter
Jan 06, 2013 Brandy Painter rated it really liked it
I enjoyed all of the characters and the story in this book. The kids were a great team, all super smart but also pretty normal kids. Pretty normal kids up against giant dinosaur robots who have started thinking for themselves. Giant. Dinosaur. Robots. That's the books selling point right there. It also is an all around fun book about friendship, looking beyond the surface to see who people really are, and with surprising twists and turns to keep the reader engaged.
Sep 10, 2014 Craig rated it it was amazing
Shelves: youth
I enjoyed the story of this book.
It was nice to see the characters figure out their surroundings, work as a team despite their differences, resolve conflicts, and learn to program robots (albeit in a somewhat unrealistic fashion).
I would have liked a few more twists (though the one at the very end was a nice touch), I realize it is a children's book and so isn't meant for full on adult mentality.
Jul 07, 2015 Phoebe rated it it was ok
While many kids will find this wintry adventure story featuring robotic dinosaurs bent on guarding their junkyard territory an exciting page-turner, I felt the author was neglectful of some details (how do middle school kids know how to build the kind of complex robots that are described in the competition scenes, and how appropriate is it to ask 8 to 12-year-olds to develop battle bots that tear each other apart, ala Big Hero 6?). A bit laborious to get through for me. 5th grade and up.
Mar 07, 2014 Cornmaven rated it really liked it
This was a pretty cool book about middle school kids building robots and then having to battle some mysterious real-life robots that are threatening the town.

I was expecting one of the characters to be a little more sinister, but that didn't happen. Scaletta did a nice job in educating kids how robots work, and the potential for artificial intelligence in future robots.

Moves a little slower than I would like for boys, but still all in all a fun story.
Mar 16, 2015 Michelle rated it liked it
This book was 3 1/2 stars for me. It was a book my son chose and we read together. It was not my style at all, but it was well written, exciting for boys his age, and had some creative parts to the story. If you love fixing up cars, creating and battling robots, and winter weather, this is the book for you! I think it also helps if you are around the age of 10. :)
Aug 21, 2013 Lynn rated it really liked it
Robot Rumbles get serious in Minneapolis. I really liked this and would have given it 4 1/2 starts if I could. My only hesitation is that the plot wanders a bit but all the loose ends get nicely tied up in the end. Jim, the narrator, is a very engaging character and I was rooting for him all the way.

This will make an awesome booktalk and is SURE to delight middle schoolers.
Jun 03, 2014 Emyrose8 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: in-my-library
4.5- It takes place in Minnesota- automatic win! I loved the concept of the book (building robots) and the teamwork (getting everyone involved)/friendly rivalry the characters do. The ending was wrapped up a little too quick and neat; it seemed like the problem resolution should've been more difficult.
Oct 01, 2013 Bethe rated it really liked it
Combo sci fi and mystery in this fun MG book. Boys will love the cover and robot action. There is a slow build up to the hinted at action in the junk yard, the last third is non stop robot action. Don't miss the kan ock jokes!
Jul 11, 2014 Jensenj rated it really liked it
Somewhat science fiction meets magic realism, this is a story with deep and engaging characters. While some questions are unanswered and the pace is a bit slower, readers will enjoy action in the satisfying ending.
Jan 21, 2016 Kevin rated it liked it
A Minneapolis-based story about kids who start building robots and discover a secret in an abandoned building. It's set up as this great robot-battle, but there's not nearly enough battling robots for my taste. My kids really liked it, but I got bored early on.
May 12, 2015 Shane rated it really liked it
I'm mid book. On page 74 and it's a pretty funny and interesting book. I' think it's about to heat up so I can't say much right now.
Daniel O.
Jan 13, 2014 Daniel O. rated it it was amazing
Jan13 read 90min
Brenda Kahn
Reviewing for SLJ
Kassie rated it really liked it
Jul 21, 2014
Melanie rated it liked it
Jul 23, 2014
Charlie O'boyle
Charlie O'boyle rated it it was amazing
Sep 16, 2016
Lachlan rated it it was amazing
Jun 29, 2014
Maxine rated it really liked it
Mar 26, 2017
Wadsworthlibrary rated it liked it
Jan 14, 2014
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Kurtis Scaletta is the author of several books for young readers including Mudville, which was short listed for the Mark Twain Readers Award, and The Tanglewood Terror, which was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award. He lives in Minneapolis with wife and son and some cats.
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