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Reviewed by:
  • Robobaby by David Wiesner
  • Elizabeth Bush

Wiesner, David Robobaby; written and illus. by David Wiesner. Clarion, 2020 [32p] Trade ed. ISBN 9780544987319 $17.99 E-book ed. ISBN 9780358416050 $12.99 Reviewed from digital galleys R 4-9 yrs

Diode and Lugnut are thrilled with the arrival of their second child, who just arrived in a carton containing the parts for a lovely 278-pound robot named Flange. Naturally they're anxious to assemble their newest pride and joy, and big sister Cathode wants to help, but Diode finishes the head assembly with a "Thanks, Cathy … but this is a mother's job." There's a slight accident, and Uncle Manifold is called in to help; he makes a few self-styled improvements to the original design, and Diode is set to activate her son. Tech-savvy Cathode cautions her mother to install updates according to directions before activation, but Diode is quick to push the button; immediately Flange goes airborne, and an antic chase ensues with the family, their pet Sprocket, the Robobaby tech support squad, and excited neighbors bearing congratulatory cakes and snacks all trying to retrieve Flange and bring him home. Sequential art and speech-bubble text are riddled with goofy detail that invites close examination, from the toolbelt strapped around not-so-helpful Uncle Manny's metallic girth, to the neighbors' culinary repartee: "Your soup is delicious"; "I toast the zinc!" Wiesner's friendly robots, despite their clunky metal framework, infuse their twilit extraterrestrial world with warmth and mutual support, making this a convivial, if offbeat, addition to the new-baby-on-the-way collection. [End Page 500]



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