I've also just discovered that Scholastic will be reprinting this series in Fall 2014 in FULL COLOUR with new illustrations by Dan Santat. Plus two new volumes will be added to the current 7-volume series, #8 & #9 will come out Fall 2014 & Spring 2015! How exciting! Here is a cover reveal of the new series Book One.
Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot, 1
2000, Scholastic, 112 pgs;
"Little Ricky Ricotta has a problem: the bullies at school pick on him all the time. Until one day, he saves the life of a mighty robot. Together, Ricky and his Robot face the bullies, and save Squeakyville from a giant evil lizard monster. That's what friends are for!"
Borrowed a copy from my local library.
I've already read and reviewed this book here, when my son read it to me as his reader but a few words from my point of view. This is a much simpler read than the Captain Underwear series. Many pages only have one or two sentences of text and the reading level is lower. The story is cuter and at least, so far the humour is not of the toilet variety. The plot however is not simple; there are several instances of rising action before the final climax making for a captivating read. Including the familiar "Flip-o-rama" pages the story relates how Ricky is bullied until he sees the evil Dr. Stinky being mean to a robot. He intercedes and ends up with the robot himself. Then there is the fiasco at home as they try to keep the robot as a pet and finally the return of Dr.Stinky with an evil monster to try and get the robot back. Very fun easy-reader chapter book.
Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot, 2
2000, Scholastic, 128 pgs;
"Mr. Mosquito hates Mercury. The days are so hot, they melt his flip-flops, and the nights are so cold, his toothpaste freezes solid! He's decided to take over Earth instead. Ricky and his Robot must stop his army of massive Mutant Mosquitoes!"
Purchased a secondhand copy from a thrift store.
Another fun entry in this very simple early chapter book. I've just realized that the titles in this series are all related to the planets. This book starts with Mercury and then they go up in order to finally Pluto. As the book starts some brief facts about Mercury are thrown into the silly text so some real information is actually garnered here. As with the first book, the main theme is friendship. Ricky and the Robot develop their friendship as they battle against the evil Mr. Mosquito who hates living on Mars so plans to invade Earth with his army of mutant mosquitoes. Ricky is allowed to leave school early to help save the world as long as he finishes his math test and with three questions left Mighty Robot helps him visualize the problems using cars from the teacher parking lot. Silly humour should amuse the young reader. At the end of each book are several "how to draw" pages which are completely different in each book. The drawings are not exactly easy to imitate as they are quite detailed but they are at least step-by-step instructions so will be do-able for those keen on drawing.
Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot, 3
2001, Scholastic, 128 pgs;
"Victor Von Vulture hates Venus. His toasted cheese sandwiches are always way too gooey, and ice cream melts in a second! So he and his army of Voodoo Vultures try to cast a spell on the Earth. It's up to Ricky and his Robot to stop them!"
Borrowed a copy from my local library.
Following the same established routine we get a view of Venus and the vulture inhabitants. Now we learn some factual though humorous information about the planet and why Victor Von Vulture hates living there (no good food). So he devises a plot to hypnotise the earth's inhabitants who will bring him all the food in the world. Lucky for Ricky, he and his robot were grounded from TV that night when the waves were sent across Earth. Ricky and his robot to the rescue! The story is light-hearted but the humour is less a part of the story as it was in the first two and this third book has drifted more into the science-fiction superhero category. The plot is multi-faceted, there is a life lesson for Ricky (and the robot) and good conquers evil. A fun page for fans reading in order will be when Victor is sent to jail and we can see looking out the jail's other barred windows, Dr. Stinky from book #1 and Mr. Mosquito from book #2. Recommended first chapter book series.