Can I Build Another Me?

posted in: Shinsuke Yoshitake | 6

canIbuildanothermefrontcoverIn Can I Build Another Me? by Shinsuke Yoshitake, a young boy comes up with a master plan to avoid doing his chores: he spends all his pocket money on a robot to take his place. “From now on, you’re going to be the new me! […] But don’t let anyone know. You must behave exactly like me.

But in order to be exactly like the young boy, the robot needs to know everything about the person he will be imitating. All sorts of questions, exploring everything from the boy’s physical characteristics, to likes and dislikes, via feelings and much more follow. Gradually the robot builds up a fairly comprehensive picture of what the boy is like, but will the master plan to avoid chores succeed or will Mum see through the robot straight away?

This very funny, marvellously philosophical picture book offers so many opportunities for thinking about who we are, why we behave the way we do and how we can and do change over time. It’s reflective and reassuring, creating a space full of laughter to talk about feelings, hopes and friendships. Every page offers lots of opportunities for conversations, at the same time as being full of acute and humurous observations about what it can be like being a child, trying to learn how to navigate your way in the world.

Yoshitake’s illustrations, often reminiscent of comic strips, with multiple panels on each page, are full of fabulous detail offering as much to pore over as the text does. Stylishly designed with just a few colours and a great variety of pace (some pages have lots of sections, others are given over to a single spread), the relatively simplicity of the line drawings allows Yoshitake’s fantastical imagination to flourish.

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An empowering, laughter-fuelled, imagination-sparking, reflection-inducing delight, Can I Build Another Me? is meaty and marvellous, silly and serious all at once. A triumph!

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We don’t ever really need an excuse for making robots out of junk. Nevertheless, we gratefully took reading Can I Build Another Me? as an opportunity to get creative with old plastic boxes and the glue gun, to create a few mini-me-robots:

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Whether they are really just like us or not, they definitely have a sense of personality!

As well as making mini-me-robots, we made keepsake booklets about ourselves, inspired by the questions raised by Yoshitake in his book.

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We really enjoyed filling them in, and I suspect they will be great fun to look back on in a year or more, to see how our feelings about ourselves and who we are has changed.

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I learned a few things about my own kids as we filled in these booklets. “I can put a whole carrot in my mouth,” wrote M…., whilst J likes DIY and ceilidhs.

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If you want to have a go at making your own Can I Build Another Me? inspired booklet, click here to download the pdf file to print off (we printed the pages back to back, then folded them in half and stapled them together along the spine).

Whilst making our robots and filling in our notebooks we listened to:

  • Love Me for Who I Am by Brady Rymer
  • I Am Not A Robot by Marina and The Diamonds
  • You won’t find another fool like me by the New Seekers


  • Other activities which might work well alongside reading include:

  • Making a tree to match your personality. There are loads of tree crafts, but I like the look of this, this, this and this.
  • Turning yourself into a robot, with the help of a large cardboard box and Viviane Schwarz’s fabulous Welcome to your Awesome Robot
  • Creating a nesting doll set that looks like you – you can get blank nesting doll sets (google “blank wooden Russian doll set” for example, to find lots of offerings) and then paint them to show all the different versions of you there are inside your skin. You could do ones with different facial expressions, for example.


  • If you liked this post you might like these other posts by me, featuring picture books with a philosophical theme:

  • The multi-award winning I am Henry Finch written by Alexis Deacon and illustrated by Viviane Schwarz
  • This is not my hat by Jon Klassen (with an interview with the author/illustrator)
  • Little Answer by Tim Hopgood
  • philbooks

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    Disclosure: I was sent a free review copy of this book by the publisher. NB Although the book was translated from Japanese, no named translator is given in the bibliographic details.

    6 Responses

    1. I can read you are still having a hard job on cats ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’ve seen cats on your girl’s pages but not on yours…
      I love the idea of this book. We have “C’est peut-รชtre une pomme” translated into french (very recently, in february I think). I had a look at it but it did not seem as nice as this one. I am waiting forward to get the translation of “Can I build another me” !

    2. Jo Franklin

      I love these philosophical picture books. They are great to stimulate debate for all ages. Great junk robots too,

    3. Zoe , junk modelling – I really miss it – was one of the favourite activities for my children too. We used to save up all our junk for weeks, then collect lots of rolls of sellotape and invite friends to come and help build a great fantasy on my living room floor. We also did the same with the church youth group – 20 odd children between ages 7-12 and they loved it too.

      gramswisewords.blogspot.com

      • Junk modelling rules! Yes, rolls and rolls of sellotape are essential ๐Ÿ™‚ I love the idea of doing it with a large group of people. Thanks, Marian.

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