cover image Motor Dog

Motor Dog

Kurt Cyrus, illus. by David Gordon. Disney-Hyperion, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4231-6822-5

A robot dog seems like the ideal pet until it gets one look at a neighborhood cat. Then its special features kick in of their own accord, and the dumbfounded owner, a redheaded boy named Flip, finds himself airborne. At the other end of the leash, Motor Dog pursues its prey down the street and into the trees: “ ‘Hold your horses! Shift your gears!’/ Motor Dog switched off his ears./ Then he lit his booster rocket./ Flip’s right shoulder left its socket.” With a premise updated for the digital age (Flip orders Motor Dog off the Internet using a tablet he has secreted under the bedcovers), Cyrus (Your Skeleton Is Showing) and Gordon (Off Go Their Engines, Off Go Their Lights) have created an entertaining addition to the be-careful-what-tech-you-wish-for shelf. Gordon’s spreads have a palpable dynamism combined with a painterly elegance; some readers may be reminded of the work of William Joyce. An irreverent tribute to the bond between boy and (bionically enhanced) dog. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Michael Stearns, Upstart Crow Literary. (Feb.)