cover image Brother from a Box

Brother from a Box

Evan Kuhlman, illus. by Iacopo Bruno. S&S/Atheneum, $16.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4424-2658-0

Kuhlman (The Last Invisible Boy) offers up a quirky story of a boy and his robot. Twelve-year-old Matt Rambeau gets a surprise when a large crate from France arrives at his New York City apartment. Even more surprising, it contains the world’s most advanced, most realistic robot, which looks just like a stereotypical French boy; Bruno pictures the robot, which Matt promptly names Norman, wearing a striped shirt and beret. It turns out that Norman is part of a project Matt’s father and uncle have been working on, and now Matt gets to help Norman adjust to and blend in with society. Hijinks ensue, especially when Matt realizes dangerous people are out to steal Norman for their own nefarious ends. This mixture of action and humor is recounted in Matt’s idiosyncratic narration, which is full of non sequiturs and bounces from topic to topic in chapters that range from a paragraph to several pages. Bruno’s illustrations, not all seen by PW, add to the story’s overall goofy charm. Ages 9–12. Agent: Daniel Lazar, Writer’s House. (May)