Monday, December 12, 2011


Horn Book (May/June, 2011)

Clink, who's "rusty (even his dust had rust)" and "squeaky (even his creaks made squeaks)," just can't compete with his newer, fancier peers in the robot store. While others are able to perform tasks such as completing homework, baking cookies, picking up dirty laundry, or playing baseball, Clink is programmed to play old-fashioned music and make (dry) toast. After watching customers leave with his newfangled friends, Clink becomes progressively despondent and discouraged. However, when a young boy named Milton discounts one new robot after another, Clink is able to show his stuff by breaking out in a "head-boppin', toast-poppin', show-stoppin' tune," dancing with twirls and twists, and -- oops! -- hitting Milton with a rusty spring. As good luck would have it though, Milton "likes burned toast, is great at fixing things, and...loves to dance." The witty text, occasionally interspersed with colorful, onomatopoeic robot-centric words ("Plink! Pop! Ping!"), is ideal for reading aloud. DiPucchio skillfully mixes the self-esteem-building moral with a retro quality, and parents will dig the sense of nostalgia-for-the-simpler-things the way youngsters will the sparky robot theme. Myers's paintings, reminiscent of Mark Teague's, burst with loud colors and an energy that's perfect for a store -- and story -- full of bopping robots and smiling clientele. katrina hedeen

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