The Stellar Life of Jpeg the Robot Dog

C.J. Atticus, illus. by Angelika Domschke
C.J. Atticus, illus. by Angelika Domschke. C.J. Atticus (www.cjatticus.com), $6.95 paper (120p) ISBN 978-0-9887780-2-3
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Jpeg, a canine robot with magnetic paws and major attitude, narrates this first title in Atticus's Stranded in Space series. He lives in an expansive space station with Johnny, his human master, who attempts to ground the egocentric, unruly dog for chasing the mailbot. Instead, Jpeg leaves their apartment and unapologetically crashes into other hardworking machines, including a painterbot and a carpenterbot. Jpeg's bad behavior eventually finds him being jettisoned into space, where other gadgets refuse to help him get home ("No machine or bot will help you until you learn your lesson!" explains a passing solarscope). Although Jpeg displays some ingenuity and loyalty late in the story, he isn't in danger of losing his edge just yet—after a space debris sweeper swallows him, he calls his fellow captors rude for laughing derisively at him: "I wouldn't laugh at them. Oh, I forgot—I would." Domschke's angular b&w cartoons mesh high-tech and retro elements as they amplify the story's dramatic and comic moments, but the story ends inconclusively on a cliffhanger with little resolved. Ages 6–12.
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