Reviews for If I Had a Robot


Horn Book Guide Reviews 1997
Phil imagines what it would be like to have a robot to take care of all of life's unpleasant tasks, such as eating vegetables, going to school, taking baths, and kissing Aunt Louise. Yaccarino's bold, colorful illustrations fill double-page spreads with flat, stylized shapes. The simple design and expressive illustrations are more engaging than the slight, predictable story. Copyright 1998 Horn Book Guide Reviews

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Kirkus Reviews 1996 June
~ Rather than eat his vegetables, Phil conjures up an imaginary robot to do it for him. Automation proves seductive. As Phil expands his daydream so that the robot--at first the size of a large cardboard box--not only gobbles lima beans, but takes Phil's bath for him and handles chores, the chunky, retro-looking automaton also grows. No longer a work drone, the mechanical man is now ``an enforcer.'' Phil's daydream takes on despotic proportions- -``I could be king of the world, master of the universe!''--as he peers up at his gigantic buddy, only to be interrupted by his mother's prosaic, yet enticing, suggestion, ``Whoever eats their vegetables gets chocolate cake for dessert.'' Phil puts aside his dreams of world domination, helping himself to cake as he concludes, ``If you want something done right, you've got to do it yourself.'' The fantasy becomes very large, but the yearnings never leave the realm of real childhood concerns. Yaccarino (Big Brother Mike, 1992, etc.) uses the artwork, printed on matte paper, to reiterate his materialist conclusion, by subtly grounding Phil's fanciful imaginings in rotund, weighted images. (Picture book. 2-7) Copyright 1999 Kirkus Reviews

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 1996 June #4
Kitschy art brightens a tired tale that begins as Mom delivers a classic ultimatum: Phil can't leave the dinner table until he finishes his vegetables. "I hate vegetables!" the boy exclaims, sticking out his tongue with displeasure. "I bet if I had a robot he would eat those vegetables at my command!" Thrilled by that possibility, he imagines a series of wide-bodied, fearsome robots that willingly do his homework, feed the dog and attend school in his place ("Why, he could even kiss my Aunt Louise!"). Yaccarino (Carnival; Bam Bam Bam) punctuates nearly every statement with "Hey!," "Boy!" and even "Yessiree!" This approach mildly juices up Phil's narration, but the volume's main appeal comes from the quirky sci-fi illustrations. Yaccarino's characters appear distorted, as if seen through a fish-eye lens; the narrator's smile stretches across his oblong face toward his tiny ears. The hulking robots, painted in simple red, blue, purple or green, have stiff tin-can shapes and obedient personalities straight out of a 1950s B-movie. Ages 2-7. (Sept.) Copyright 1996 Cahners Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 1996 September
Gr 1-3 Ordered to finish his brussels sprouts, a nauseated Phil wishes he had a robot to do the deed. Come to think of it, the robot could take his bath, do his homework, make him king of the playground, and even master of the universe! Yaccarino's illustrations are slightly rougher and paler than those in Eve Merriam's Bam, Bam, Bam (Holt, 1995), but just as visually emphatic, featuring large areas of a single color with supple, curved borders, plus a succession of stylized robots that look like towering water heaters. The promise of dessert as a reward brings Phil back to Earth in a hurry: "Like I always say, if you want something done right, you've got to do it yourself!" he proclaims grandly, chowing down on a huge piece of cake. The boy's flight of fancy may be less imaginative (and gross) than that of Henrik Drescher's The Little Boy Who Ate Around (Hyperion, 1994), but it should nonetheless please any child faced with a similarly unpleasant chore. John Peters, New York Public Library Copyright 1998 School Library Journal Reviews

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