Synopses & Reviews
Some kids are too smart for their own good...and maybe for everybody else's good. When an overly ambitious little girl builds a humongous robot for her science fair, she fully expects to win first place. What she doesn't expect is the chaos that follows.
Mac Barnett, a new picture book author on the rise, and Dan Santat, illustrator of Rhea Perlman's Otto Undercover series, combine forces to create a hilarious kid's eye account of the kind of destruction that comes only from a child's good intentions. This book is sure to appeal to kids and parents familiar with the ordeal of science fairs.
Santat and Barnett collaborate seamlessly on this slapstick adventure about a pigtailed, bespectacled science fair entrant trying unsuccessfully to control her prize-winning robot. "I probably shouldn't have given it a superclaw, or a laser eye, or the power to control dogs' minds," she sighs as she watches the metallic monster storm across her city. Barnett's (Billy Twitters and His Blue Whale Problem) telegraphic text packs wicked humor into economical, comic book style lines, while Santat's (Always Lots of Heinies at the Zoo) skylines pay homage to old monster movies. In one scene, the robot looms Godzilla-like, railroad car in hand, over an urban Japantown; another sequence is viewed through its fish-eye lens, with crosshairs trained on its creator. When the robot reacts with fury to the girl's futile attempts to stop it ("I should have given it ears," she laments), the girl and text become blurred, testimony to the impact of its stomps. Blueprints for the robot and the genetically altered toad she deploys to defeat it are included on the endpapers, but, kids, don't try this at home!--PW
This graphic novel in picture-book form will appeal to the "Captain Underpants" set. A young girl builds a robot for the science fair, but things get crazy when it goes on a rampage through the city. That's when she realizes that she forgot to give it any skills that would allow it to understand her commands to stop. She creates a giant toad monster to fight the robot but the toad has its own problems. Santat's Photoshop illustrations propel the story far more than the text, and the dialogue balloons, dramatic perspectives, and graphic style bring a true comic-book sensibility to this funny story that's loaded with child appeal.--SLJ
Santat's brilliantly hued digital illustrations are the perfect foil for Barnett's almost-wordless tale of a science project gone awry. When the bespectacled heroine surveys the post-apocalyptic opening scene, the speech bubbles tell the tale-"Oh no oh man I knew it." Like a 1950s B-movie, complete with the widescreen boundaries, the drama of her prize-winning robot stalking New York is one part cautionary tale and many parts over-the-top humor. When she screams, "HEY, ROBOT! KNOCK IT OFF ALREADY!" the page turn shows her shaky, understated realization, "I should have given it ears." In a world where technology progresses rapidly and consequences are often not anticipated, this lesson in "I should have" is subtle, never preachy and always action-packed. Comic-book, picture-book and movie styles come together in a well-designed package that includes a movie poster on the reverse side of the jacket, an old-time computation book as the inside cover and detailed scientific drawings on the endpapers. The Japanese subtitles and translations on the pages before the title add to the fun. The only thing missing are the 3-D glasses! A must-have.--Kirkus
When an overambitious little girl builds a humongous robot for the science fair, she fully expects to win first place. What she doesn't expect is the chaos that follows. Full color.
About the Author
Mac Barnett (www.macbarnett.com) is a writer living in Oakland, CA. He's also the Executive Director of 826LA, a nonprofit writing and tutoring center, and founder of the Echo Park Time Travel Mart, a convenience store for time travelers (seriously).
Dan Santat (www.dantat.com) is the author and illustrator of Guild of Geniuses and the illustrator of many books, including The Secret Life of Walter Kitty by Barbara Jean Hicks. He has an animated series for Disney called The Replacements. He lives in Southern California.