________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 41. . . .June 26, 2015


Power Down, Little Robot.

Anna Staniszewski. Illustrated by Tim Zeltner.
New York, NY: Henry Holt (Distributed in Canada by Raincoast Books), 2015.
32 pp., hardcover, $19.50.
ISBN 978-1-63779-125-0.

Subject Headings:

Preschool-grade 1 / Ages 4-6.

Review by Nikita Griffioen.

**** /4



“Bedtime, my little robot!” Mom unit calls.

I quickly open my stalling program.


Power Down, Little Robot is the newest work from PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Children’s Book Discover Award-winning author Anna Staniszewski. This book is a successful diversion from Staniszewski’s typical method of writing for tween-age readers.

internal art     Power Down, Little Robot tells the all-too-familiar story of the typical bedtime struggle: a young child is told that it’s time for bed, and resistance ensues. Unlike the typical bedtime struggle story, however, this conflict takes place in space between two robots: a Mom Unit, and her Little Robot. Parallels are drawn between real human life and robot life: the Little Bot finds every reason to stall his mother, asking her to “read… a manual” (p. 8), and pretending he forgot to “brush [his] cogs” (p. 19). Though the little one stalls, Mom Unit has answers for everything: she fast-forwards through a bedtime manual tale and “plays back the recording from earlier” (p. 19) of his clean cogs. The prose flows well with clever dialogue between mother and son that will surely resonate with parents—and their children—whether robot or not.

internal art      Zeltner’s illustrations are the perfect mix of soft and colourful to give the robots a cheery and engaging feel and enhance Staniszewski’s story. They hold the charm of Oliver Jeffers, with the technical rendering of skill that is reminiscent of Phoebe Gilman. The brightly coloured robots are expressive and active as they vary in facial structure and body language throughout the story. Zeltner has added in robotic details, like oil on kitchen shelves for food, and “Cog Aid” (p. 3) soda. These witty inclusions make for a new experience every time the story is read: there seems to be a new detail to notice each time.

      Anna Staniszewski’s Power Down, Little Robot is a joy for all ages. Older readers will relate to the struggle of sending a child to bed, while appreciating the robotic twist on the typical situation, while young readers will be enthralled by the beautiful illustrations and funny dialogue. This charming book is a must-read for anyone who has ever put a child to bed, as well as any child who has been told to go to bed.

Highly Recommended.

Nikita Griffioen, who is currently finishing her degree at British Columbia’s University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, will go on to teach high school and hopes to write and illustrate books of her own.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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