BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations
Book Title: TIN
Author: Pádraig Kenny
Publisher: Chicken House
Publication Date: Feb 2018
Suitable For: Years 5-6
This accomplished debut novel, which is imaginative, surprising and philosophical, teems with adventure and emotion.
Set in a world in which children are either ‘proper’ – that is, real children – or robotic ‘mechanicals’, the story follows a boy called Christopher who assists the curious mechanical engineer Mr Absalom. When an unfortunate accident occurs under Mr Absalom’s care, Christopher is forced to embark upon an adventure that will lead him to discover his real identity, with the help of a group of trustworthy friends both mechanical and proper.
The plot is full of twists and turns and is thrilling and thought-provoking from start to finish. What we love the most is how Pádraig Kenny has realised the dimensions of his unusual fantasy world in a way that is at once beguiling and exceptionally convincing.
The text also delights with the richness of its vocabulary, both in terms of the lexicon associated with the imagined world (quickly and casually bringing the reader to understand terms like ‘refined propulsion’, ‘ensoulment’ and ‘glyphs’) as well as the opulence of its descriptive language more broadly.
‘TIN’ provokes some interesting questions about artificial intelligence and its ethics. Does a mechanical being have rights? Should robots be programmed to be able to harm others? Do genius engineers need to follow a set of common ethics? At the heart of it all, however, lie the very relatable themes of humanity and belonging. We highly recommend this enjoyable and thought-provoking story for upper KS2.