Book review of At the Robot Zoo by Harris Tobias
I have to give this story an A for originality. It’s a completely different concept from anything I’ve read before, and pretty good writing for a guy who was raised by robots disguised as New Yorkers!
I give it an A+ for the artwork. It is filled with illustrations by William Barden that are a feast for the eyes, and realistic yet with a touch of humor. I also find rhyming stories irresistible and this one delights me with its pleasant rhythms.
This is the story of a young robot who sneaks into the zoo after it closes to see what happens “when nobody’s looking.” He watches how the zookeepers take care of the robot animals. The author and illustrator have come up with ingenious ways of showing how nearly-normal looking animals have troubles because of the fact that they are actually robots, but are fixed by kind caretakers. All of these electro-mechanical animals are surprisingly endearing.
The first two pages of text seem to have a different rhyming scheme than the rest of the book, but once I figured that out, I got back into a rhythm. I would have loved to have seen a full-page illustration for the cover, but have to admit that the mechanical lettering is quite clever.