illus. by Daniel Salmieri. 48p. Dial. 2015. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780525428879.
K-Gr 2—A boy and his dog dress up in robot costumes and proceed to annoy everyone with "ROBO-POKES," "ROBO-STOMPS," and "ROBO-GRABS." Tired of these antics, his family leaves the scene, and the narrator tries to convince the boy how wonderful life would be if he were a REAL robot. The narrator gives him the ingredients to "ROBO-SAUCE," a magical elixir that changes humans into robots, and the boy makes and drinks it. He is transformed into ROBO-KID and goes on to blast his way through the town. After much destruction and fear is fomented, the narrator acknowledges that life was actually better when the boy was a human and not scaring everybody. Alas, when the ROBO-ANTIDOTO recipe is destroyed, the robot instead turns everything and everybody into a robot. Rubin and Salmieri, creators of Dragons Love Tacos (Dial, 2012) and Those Darn Squirrels (Clarion, 2008), have joined forces again to bring another quirky tale to life. The stylized cartoons are quite clever and engaging, an appealing mix of retro pen and ink drawings, fun typography, and touches of neon orange. The book even has shiny, foldout pages that transform the cover from ROBO-SAUCE to ROBO-BOOK. Unfortunately, the art is stronger than the storytelling.
VERDICT While the concept is fun and will appeal to many children, the action feels stilted and there is little humor to be found. Only for the most avid robot lovers out there.

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