Children's Literature - Maria Lamattina
Technology is making our lives easieror is it? Man will always be in charge of machinesright? These are serious questions, but in Eager's Nephew, Helen Fox touches upon them in a lighthearted way. Eager is a very special robot. Designed by Professor Ogden, Eager now belongs to a class of robots that scientists are forbidden to buildrobots that can think for themselves and even feel emotions. As a result of the ban, Eager has had to hide for years. When Eager plans a visit to a family of humans that he is friendly with, his nephew, Jonquil, joins him. Jonquil possesses talents that surpass his uncles'; talents that might endanger him as well as others should the "wrong" people know of his existence. However, the world is a totally new place to Jonquil and, as one might expect, he wants to experience everything he can at a lightning pace, much to the chagrin of Eager. Eager's Nephew would be a delightful novel to use with seventh to ninth graders as an entry point to a unit on technology, government controls, and/or human fear (hardly "light" topics). At the plot level, it makes for an easy and delightful read, while opening the door to much more serious considerations.
School Library Journal
This sequel to Eager (Random, 2004) takes place 10 years after its predecessor, at the end of the 21st century, when mentally and emotionally independent robots are illegal and subject to destruction. Eager, his sister Allegra, and several other robots capable of independence from humans have gone into hiding. They have learned to "reproduce": Allegra has created Jonquil, her "son," who can morph into a variety of shapes and interface with almost any kind of electronic device. Once a year, Eager takes a risk: disguising himself as a domestic-servant robot, he travels to see the Bells, the family he became close to in the first book. Jonquil begs to go along, as he has never spent any time among humans. Eager refuses, but Jonquil conceals himself and joins him anyway. A certain amount of comedy and adventure ensues, but both are restrained and clever in a way that the threat of a grand-scale robot rebellion in the first novel was not. The stakes are much lower here, and the characters get out of any danger they're in pretty easily. Fans of the previous book will probably want to read this one; others are likely to be turned off by its slow pace.
Walter MinkelCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Twenty years have passed since Eager's last adventure among humans, and self-aware robots have long been outlawed. Once a year, Eager emerges from hiding to visit his friends, the Bell family. This trip he's shocked to discover a stowaway: his nephew, the shape-morphing robot Jonquil. Eager insists that Jonquil hide from the Bells for their protection, but it's difficult for Jonquil to stay out of trouble. Inadvertently, the Bell family's been caught up in international intrigues, identity theft and disturbing virtual realities. Accompanied by an amusing robot actress who only speaks Elizabethan English, Eager and Jonquil risk their safety to help their human friends. Compelling mysteries resolve far too quickly, leaving a sadly flat conclusion to an otherwise cute adventure. (Science fiction. 9-13)