cover image Lilliput 5357

Lilliput 5357

Stefan Czernecki, . . Simply Read, $16.95 (44pp) ISBN 978-1-894965-32-3

The metal robot of the title, a school-bus-yellow fellow with a rectangular head and torso, strikes stiff poses with other vintage toys in this photographic picture book. Described as "the earliest known wind-up toy robot," Lilliput 5357 first appeared in 1930s Japan. Czernecki (Paper Lanterns ) sets him in tableaux with other collectible machinery, and establishes the character with a slender plot: "Every morning Lilliput 5357 wound up his motor and marched out to play. But then one morning... big robots with bad attitudes showed up." Menaced by an assortment of enameled and plasticky brutes, who "krrrunnccch" a baby-blue playmate under fire-engine-red feet and faux chrome, Lilliput hops in a streamlined, retro "Rocket Racer" (quaintly decorated with painted rivets) and "zip zoom vroooooms" to find a safe place to play. Lilliput stumbles through a city crowded with antique cars and a "Sky Rangers" zeppelin, steers around a garbage dump full of rubber ants, flies and rats, and visits a carnival of wind-up rides such as Ferris wheels. The clean, undented tin toys appear to have escaped a yard-sale fate. Czernecki interjects each scene with onomatopoeia, sets the action against empty white backgrounds and shows off the robots' gears and decals. Collectors might appreciate the close-ups, but the story of Lilliput's journey, unfortunately falls flat. Ages 3-up. (Mar.)