Reviews for Robobots


Booklist Monthly Selections - #1 June 1999
Ages 4^-8. The lighthearted pictures mask a meaningful theme in this story of a family of robots who move into an ordinary suburban neighborhood. Their new neighbors eye them suspiciously as the blue-colored robots sculpt their bushes into squares, plant a variety of cleaning tools in the flower beds, and greet the fire hydrant and mailbox politely. The neighbors (a variety of ethnic groups) march to the house angrily but discover that the Robobot's house has its charm, and so do its inhabitants. Novak's pictures emphasize the peculiarities in the way people look, with their misshapen noses and spindly legs, and the robots resemble pale blue Muppets. The book's theme of things looking strange at first is highlighted through the use of perspective, as Novak shows the houses and people from many different angles. He hits the balance between silly and serious just right. ((Reviewed June 1 & 15, 1999)) Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews

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Kirkus Reviews 1999 April #1
Novak (The Pillow War, 1998, etc.) offers another blunt picture book parable. When a blue-skinned mechanical family moves into the old Wilson place, the neighbors are dismayed. The Robobots get a hostile reception in town, too, finding locked doors and signs such as ``Weirdos go home'' and ``No freaks'' posted on stores and the school. Distressed but optimistic, the Robobots invite an angry delegation into their radically altered home; after an exhilarating ride on the motorized furniture, plus a shared meal of cheeseburgers and chocolate-covered propellers, the tension floats away on a cloud of smiles. Children may laugh at the Robobots' animated, pop-eyed furnishings and daffy ingenuousness, but they'll laugh harder, and with more understanding, at Sam Swope and illustrator Barry Root's less labored take on the theme, The Araboolies of Liberty Street (1989). (Picture book. 6-8) Copyright 1999 Kirkus Reviews

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School Library Journal Reviews 1999 June
PreK-Gr 3When the bright blue Robobot family moves into a new neighborhood, they arent made to feel welcome. They assume that the mailbox and fire hydrants dont talk because they are shy, and the humans think of them as weirdos. D.A.D. cant find a job, M.O.M. is greeted at the market by signs saying Buzz Off, and little Widget and Toggle find the school closed (though the illustration clearly shows children inside). The neighbors march over to tell these strangers to leave but when they are invited inside, they find a wacky fantasy house with talking appliances, flying furniture, and toys that walk. Soon everyone is charmed and friendly and the Robobots are happyeven if some of the neighbors are a little strange. Novaks acrylic paintings create a Candy Land atmosphere where intolerance is unacceptable. The message is strongly conveyed through humor as the illustrations and words play together to give the real meaning behind each situation. Children will learn about accepting others and have fun with Novaks gentle robot family as they overcome initial hostility from their new neighbors.Anne Connor, Los Angeles Public Library Copyright 1999 School Library Journal Reviews

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