Weird Little Robots

Written by Carolyn Crimi, Illustrated by Corinna Luyken

In the backyard of the house where Penny Rose recently moved is an old shed, where she tinkers and builds little robots out of lost treasures and broken items she finds around town. What she hasn’t found around her new town are friends. She tells herself it’s okay, because the robots are her friends. But one day, she notices that Lark, the girl who lives up the street, also collects treasures and uses them to build amazing birdhouses in her backyard. An awkward attempt at starting a friendship is ultimately successful, and together the girls discover that there is much more than cuteness to Penny Rose’s robot creations.

As I started this novel my hot take was that it read like a Kate DiCamillo treatment of some lost 1980s Spielberg/Amblin film, and I stick by that. The atmosphere is ever so gently creepy and mysterious, as the reason for the robots coming to life is never truly discovered or explained. I liked being immersed in the world of this story, and I felt like it was good toe-dip for certain young readers I know who don’t feel like they are prepared for a truly scary book. I identified with the two main characters, but most of the other supporting characters such as the parents and the kids at school felt somewhat flat. This is in many ways a typical juvenile friendship problem story, but the atmosphere, the fun and quirky character details, and the cute robots, all established by strong writing and illustrating, set it apart.

Reviewed by Joshua Whiting, Library Media Program, Educational Technology Dept.
Rating: ★★★★✩ (4 stars)
Interest Level: Grades 2-5

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Weird Little Robots
Written by Carolyn Crimi, Illustrated by Corinna Luyken
Candlewick Press
240 pages
Release Date: 2019
ISBN: 0763694932
A review copy was provided by the publisher.

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