I wish I had more time to read grownup books, but spending 12 hours a day with tiny humans allows no time to focus on books during the day and a habit of falling asleep watching Poirot every night by 9 pm. I do read a ton of picture books though, so…
RoboSauce is by the same authors as Dragons Love Tacos, which I also highly recommend. Their writing style is conversational; they address the reader as “kid” and speak directly to her/him. I love the almost instructional way that the author/narrator interacts with the reader. The illustrations are terrific. In Dragons Love Tacos, each dragon was an individual in a unique style. The robots in RoboSauce are detailed and fun and very roboty. The illustrations are mostly grey with pops of colour.
** Small sidetrack before I begin: We are all lovers of books, so I hope you can appreciate how grateful I am for my Mom, the greatest lover of books that I know. She sent us this book after seeing my older Squishie’s cardboard box robot costume in action on Facebook. Because all paths lead back to BOOKS. **
In this story, a kid who is playing robot in his cardboard robot costume is encouraged to go full robot. The author provides him with a recipe for a potion (RoboSauce) to turn into a real robot. After his glorious robot rampage, the narrator/ author clearly thinks the Kid will become bored and sad and lonely as he is unable to hug his parents and everyone is afraid of of him, and will want the Robo Antidoto. In an awesome twist, the Kid instead develops a RoboSauce Launcher and eventually converts the whole world to robots.
I love that twist. I’ve mentioned before how boring I find the obvious Messages in picture books. The expected message of this book is that the Kid will become tired of his exciting adventures and want to be safe at home. This is the message of my favourite book Where The Wild Things Are, so it’s not a message that I reject at all, but I love that the Kid turns that trope on its head. He likes being a robot, so why should he change? Everyone else loves being a robot too, why not just be robots? (I for one welcome our inevitable robot overlords. This cannot be emphasized enough.)
One of the most awesome parts of this clever book is the fold out cover near the end that wraps around the book to create an alternate story with a happy robot family. The book itself turns into a robot, you guys. Inevitable, I’m just saying…
Also note: the Kid is a Child of Colour. His Robo-parents are of different races. Diversity in all the things!