ROBOBABY written and illustrated by David Wiesner, lettering by John Green and book design by Carol Goldenberg

 

ROBOBABY by David Wiesner
Lettering by John Green 
Book design by Carol Goldenberg
Review copy from HMH Books

David Wiesner's picture books are always a glorious, immersive experience, leaving readers feeling like they have gone somewhere after turning the last page, and ROBOBABY is no exception. Playing on the way digital natives (kids) often end up showing digital immigrants (old folks like me) the technological ropes, Wiesner imagines a world of robots where robot babies come from (where else?) Robobaby, Inc.! For the best in robot babies, the "#1 supplier of babies!" will send a "state-of-the-art and guaranteed adorable" bundle of joy in a "custom container with easy-to-follow assembly instruction"!
When the box arrives, the instructions are not as easy to follow as promised for parents Lugnut and Diode. Daughter and future big sister Cathode (Cathy) offers to help, her toolbox in hand, robo-pet Sprocket at her side. Not only do her parents refuse her help, but they turn to Uncle Manifold for help! Clearly a hacker who considers assembly instructions mere suggestions, Manny's help results in mayhem worth of a Marx Brothers movie, which is exactly what Wiesner was going for, as I learned in this interview with Julie Danielson. In the midst of this chaos, and with the help of Sprocket, Cathy finally gets the chance to take a screwdriver to to Flange, the robobaby's name, and instal the updated operating system , earning her praise for from family and friends and a happy, "putt putt putt" from Flange. And, with my favorite picture book trope, the twist ending, Cathy and Sprocket, poking around the box that Flange arrived in, make an exciting discovery that I will leave for readers to experience!



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