cover image Little Robot

Little Robot

Ben Hatke. First Second, $16.99 (144p) ISBN 978-1-62672-080-0

Hatke (the Zita the Spacegirl books) is in full command of his sweet-tempered sequential storytelling style, with a gift for fusing classic story elements into new creations. His nameless heroine is a curly-haired, brown-skinned girl in a baggy shift dress. Escaping her trailer park and finding her way into a nearby overgrown junkyard, she discovers a shiny robot who’s just her size. With expertly paced dueling viewpoints, Hatke draws her introducing the robot to the world, E.T.-style. “You can pet him,” she says, handing the robot a cat (it doesn’t go well). Simultaneously, the robot management system notes that Little Robot is missing and dispatches a giant seek-and-recover robot to find it. Early on, the girl acquires a tool kit and becomes proficient with it, fixing Little Robot and, later, incapacitating the finder robot and its allies. The action heats up quickly, and readers will race ahead to see what will happen to robot and girl. It’s an adventure story, but it’s a maker story, too, with a special spotlight on the girl’s ingenuity. Ages 6–9. Agent: Judith Hansen, Hansen Literary Agency. (Sept.)