cover image Robomop


Sean Taylor, illus. by Edel Rodriguez. Dial, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8037-3411-1

Taylor (Huck Runs Amuck!) tells a poignant story, but featherlight humor keeps it free of sentimentality. Robomop, an automatic cleaning robot with the looks of William Joyce’s Rolie Polie Olie and a long-suffering personality not unlike that of C-3PO, is consigned to a basement lavatory, and he wants out—but he can’t climb stairs. He yearns to “see the world, feel the sunshine, and fall in love,” but his escape attempts are unsuccessful and what looks like an exciting development—the appearance of a lovely “bio-morphic bellebot cleanerette”—leads instead to unemployment. Rodriguez (Sergio Makes a Splash) combines midcentury nostalgia with gentle mechanical comedy in his woodblock prints. Working in sun-bleached oranges and greens, he gives Robomop the charm of Chaplin’s Little Tramp as the robot dances “a small honky-tonk dance every time somebody arrived” in the hope that they’ll sell him to the circus. Nothing goes according to plan, but Robomop finds happiness in a quieter way. This one should hit the top of many bedtime stacks. Ages 5–8. Agent: Celia Catchpole. Illustrator’s agent: Holly McGhee, Pippin Properties. (Feb.)