Humans’ fascination with robots extends to children, who may imagine a robot as a plaything or a bedroom cleaner. Robot picture books provide young children with information, stories, and images that may enliven their mechanical imaginings.
“I Love My Robot” by Caroline Jayne Church, 2016, Cartwheel Books, ages birth-3.
Even the youngest robot fans will enjoy this board book depicting a young child’s adventures with a toy robot. Interactive features, flaps, wheels, and textures, will entice little hands to play with the robot story.
“Power Down, Little Robot” by Anna Staniszewski, Illustrated by Tim Zeltner, 2015, Henry Holt, ages 4-7.
Even robot children don’t want to go to bed at night. Little Robot initiates a stalling program that includes a drink of oil, slow brushing of the cogs, and reading a bedtime manual. Little Robot worries about rust monsters in the closet and error messages in his dreams. Finally Mother Robot agrees to stay until the dream sequence is initiated, just as many human parents do each night. The author dedicated this book to mombots and dadbots everywhere.
“Robo-Sauce” by Adam Rubin, Illustrated by Daniel Salmieri, 2015, Dial Books, ages 4-8.
Robo-Sauce, a magic potion that changes humans into robots, seems to liven up a boy’s life. After taking a swig of sauce, he becomes a robot that can a laser blast and create a robo-tornado. But when life as a robot becomes a bit lonely, he activates the Robo-Sauce Launcher, his family, friends, and even the dog become robots. Next, readers can activate Robo-Story and literally transform the book into a paper robot.
“Spare Parts” by Rebecca Emberley, Illustrated by Ed Emberley, 2015, Roaring Book Press, ages 4-8.
When Rhoobart, the robot’s, tarnished and tattered heart won’t start, he heads to the Spare Parts Mart. There he searches for a way to fix his heart, so his robot life can restart. A poetic writing style accompanies striking illustrations of greens, oranges and grays were created with cut paper and digital techniques. The Emberley father-daughter team collaborated on the popular picture books “Chicken Little”, “The Red Hen”, “The Ant and the Grasshopper”, and “The Crocodile and the Scorpion”.
“Robots” by Gail Tuchman, 2016, Scholastic, ages 6-9.
Robots influence many aspects of our daily lives. “Robots” shares facts about robots in medicine, space, and factories, helping young readers to understand the many ways robots help humans. As a Level 2 Reader in the Scholastic series, developing readers will encounter some new vocabulary, such as humanoid and roboticists, embedded within sentences containing more familiar words and helpful photograph illustrations. Headings, a table of contents, and a glossary serve as support features of this informational text.
“Junkyard” by Mike Austin, 2014, Beach Lane Books, ages 4-8.
The munching machines are ready to clean up the junk, as they munch their way through rusty school buses, leaky bathtubs, and dirty dump trucks. These metal monsters then create a surprise that all can enjoy. Colorful collage-style digital illustrations take readers through the junkyard transformation.
“Little Robot” by Ben Hatke, 2015, First Second Publishers, ages 5-8.
Graphic novelist Ben Hatke, brings to life a little robot and a friendship with a child. The comic book style of panels, action-packed illustrations, talking bubbles, and limited text magically draw the reader in to a world of adventure, danger, and moving parts. This seemingly simple structure creates a story that will have readers of all ages cheering for the two friends who connive to defeat the massive, evil robot. Ben Hatke is the author and illustrator for the Zita the Spacegirl graphic novel trilogy.
Reviewed by Elizabeth Dobler