Cog

Greg van Eekhout, illus. by Beatrice Blue. HarperCollins, $16.99 (208p) ISBN 978-0-06-268607-7
This creatively layered novel by the author of Voyage of the Dogs centers on a robot named Cog (short for “cognitive development”), built to resemble a 12-year-old boy. Created by uniMIND, a greedy company whose technology aims to control the actions of robotic and living creatures, Cog is programmed to learn and to share his knowledge, often in comically literal robot-speak (“I live in a room with a bed where I lie down. It is called a bedroom”). Under the tutelage of kind uniMIND scientist Gina, Cog learns to learn from his mistakes; on his first visit to a grocery store, he fills two carts with a humorous overabundance of goods and, when directed to return most items to the shelves, discovers that “unshopping takes longer than shopping.” After an attempt to “learn by making mistakes” lands him in the hands of villainous uniMIND staffers, and Gina is reassigned elsewhere, Cog and four robot accomplices (his long-lost sister, a dog, a car, and a waste-consuming “Trashbot”) use their varied technological skills to find Gina and rebel against the despotic corporation. Beneath the entertaining, madcap shenanigans, van Eekhout’s story raises intriguing questions about free will, fulfilling one’s life purpose, and hard-won judgment. Agent: Holly Root, Root Literary. Ages 8–12. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 08/08/2019
Release date: 10/01/2019
Genre: Children's
Ebook - 208 pages - 978-0-06-268604-6
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