Veda: Assembly Required

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From School Library Journal Gr 6–9—To avoid the costly expense of daily childcare, a girl's mother keeps her child hidden under the floorboards of the factory where she works until the end of the day. When her mother is claimed by a factory accident, the little girl, who names herself Veda, is found and looked after by Assembly Unit 1004. She eventually learns to speak the language of the machines at the facility. Veda grows older in the depths of the factory and keeps the helpful machines in good repair. But there are other things that live there, and when Veda encounters The Gremlin, everything changes. This debut work retells a familiar story found in Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book and Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book (HarperCollins, 2008) with (mostly) friendly nonhuman entities protecting and raising a lost child. There is not much to differentiate this particular version, but it is well written and has a unique cast of characters. The communication between the title character and the machines is cleverly conveyed through symbols; rarely is more than one symbol used to illustrate an entire thought, but the meaning is always clear. Veda starts off childish and dependent, then becomes curious and rebellious. Finally, after making and realizing her mistakes, she discovers her purpose. The art is well done and adeptly expresses the protagonist's growth and emotion. Sometimes the illustrations of the mechanical elements get jumbled together and make it difficult to follow the plot. VERDICT A solid concept and good art make this familiar story a worthy read.—Erik Knapp, Davis Library, Plano, TX Read more About the Author Samuel Teer was born to a deaf maintenance worker and an immigrant that spoke English as a distant second language. So, obviously he became a writer. He was raised outside of St. Louis, MO. He currently lives in Thornton, CO. Veda: Assembly Required is his first published work. The author lives in Thornton, CO. Read more