IMWAYR

Fats here.

It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (brainchild of Sheila at BookJourney). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community.

Last Week’s Review and Miscellany Posts

We’re also inviting everyone to join our Check Off your Reading List Challenge 2014.

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Sign up here to join us! Here is the October-December linky. We are also very excited to share that Pansing Books will be giving away copies of Cherub Dark Sun by Robert Muchamore to two lucky CORL participants from October-December.

Carrie Gelson of There is a Book for That is also hosting #mustreadin2014.

Iphigene has outdone herself with this beautiful widget she created.
Iphigene has outdone herself with this beautiful widget she created.

Today, I’m happy to share with you wonderfully written picturebooks about three robots who have personalities of their own.I hope you get to read these lovely books!

doug1Doug Unplugged

Written and illustrated by: Dan Yaccarino
Published by: Alfred A. Knopf (2013)
Book borrowed from Medina County Public Library.


This is Doug. He’s a robot.

Each morning his parents plug him in to fill him up with lots and lots of facts. They love their little robot and want him to be the smartest robot ever.


From award-winning author-illustrator, Dan Yaccarino, comes this delightful tale of a robot named Doug whose curiosity got the best of him. In a good and most literal sense of the word. While Doug was learning about the city one day, a pigeon landed on the windowsill. He knew about pigeons traveling in flocks but that particular day marked the first time he had heard a pigeon coo. Realizing that there might be a lot more to learn outside, Doug decided to unplug himself!

Click on the image to be taken to a preview of the book on ITunes.
Click on the image to be taken to a preview of the book on ITunes.

Doug Unplugged is a reminder that while it’s good to be book smart, it also doesn’t hurt to be street smart. As Doug made his way around the city, he learned more than the data that had been downloaded in his system. For instance, he found out that kids rode for free on the subway. He learned little things like wet cement feels squishy under your feet, pretty flowers grow out of crack in the sidewalk, and the cool water in a park fountain feels good on a hot day. Best of all, and perhaps my favorite part in the book, Doug learned a great deal about friendship. He learned how to play games like tag and hide-and-seek, and he learned that it was nice to have friend to play with.

Doug Unplugged is a nice read aloud for children. Dan Yaccarino’s vivid illustrations that were created with brush and ink on vellum would appeal to younger readers. Below is a short but lovely book trailer for Doug Unplugged, created and uploaded by Random House Kids.

clink1Clink

Written by: Kelly DiPucchio
Illustrated by: Matthew Myers
Published by: Balzer + Bray (2011)
Book borrowed from Wayne County Public Library.


As far as robots go, Clink had his fair share of problems.
He was rusty (even his dust had rust).
He was squeaky (even his creaks made squeaks).
And a didn’t pass without something falling off.

Plink! Pop! Ping!

But the problem that made Clink’s dials drop and his circuits short out was nobody wanted an old robot.


From Dan Yaccarino’s light story of Doug the robot, we move on to this bittersweet tale of Clink that was “manufactured” by Kelly DiPucchio and Matthew Myers. Interestingly, it was noted in the back dust jacket of the book that Kelly found the inspiration for the book in a painting of a forlorn-looking robot sitting by itself on a subway bench. That painting was done by Matthew.

Clink used to be a state-of-the-art robot but the latest models of robots were fancier and could do more than just sit in a corner and collect dust. Unfortunately for Clink, he didn’t have cool retractable arms or fancy attachments, and he didn’t know a thing about baking cookies. Clink could barely keep up with playing music and making toast, of which he was designed to do. When people visit the shop, they would admire all the cool things that these new, fancy robots could do. Clink tried his best to show people that he could do whatever the other robots could but things always end up being a disaster. While his robot friends walked out the door with their new families, Clink would end up being alone in the shop.

Click on the image to be taken to a preview of Clink on iTunes.
Click on the image to be taken to a preview of Clink on iTunes.

He hadn’t been programmed to cry, but somehow he leaked rusty tears every time. And then something inside that old robot broke, and simply switched off his speakers and gave up.

The story of Clink reminded me of a Disney Pixar short film called “Red’s Dream.” The short film was created in 1987 and it was about an old unicycle named Red who wished that he was in a better place than being stuck in a small corner of a bicycle shop. Clink’s story isn’t all that sad. Halfway through, the story gets better for our little robot. Matthew’s “old-fashioned” illustrations go well with the narrative text and tone. They slightly reminded me of the art in the children’s robot show, Rolie Polie Olie.

Clink is yet another excellent read about friendship, giving emphasis on the thought that friends will love you no matter what. As with Doug Unplugged, I also found a book trailer for Clink, created and uploaded by HarperKids.

blue1The Robot and the Bluebird

Written and illustrated by: David Lucas
Published by: Andersen Press Ltd. (2007)
Book borrowed from Wayne County Public Library.


There was once a Robot with a broken heart.

The others did their best to fix him, but it wasn’t any good.


And so begins the sad but heartwarming tale of a Robot with a broken heart. Of the three books that I have featured today, this beautiful work by David Lucas is my favorite. I liked the other two as well but The Robot and the Bluebird lingered in my heart for days.

The story is simple. A Robot whose heart could not be fixed was sent to the scrap yard where he joined other old and defective machines. He told them about his broken heart but none answered back. With nothing left to do, the Robot simply lay down and looked at the sky. Throughout days and nights, and during the autumn rain and winter snow, the Robot lay on the heap. Then, one fateful day, the Robot found a Bluebird flying against the freezing wind.

Click on the image to be taken to the gallery of David Lucas.
Click on the image to be taken to the gallery of David Lucas.

“I’m flying south,” she said weakly. “South, where the sun shines. But I’m so cold and tired I can go no farther.”

“I’m sure you don’t want to stay here,” said the Robot. “I’m rubbish.”

But the Bluebird just shivered and said nothing.

“There’s a space where my heart used to be,” the Robot said gently. “You can sleep here if you like.”

A lot more happened after their initial encounter but I would leave it for you to find out. I want to say that this is another book about friendship but I believe it goes beyond that. When I read the book, I thought of the animated science fiction film, The Iron Giant, and the children’s classic, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. David Lucas’ ink and watercolor illustrations in the book are as tender as the storytelling. They are so simple yet brilliantly captured the poetry embedded in the narrative. To view other spreads from the book, you may click here to visit the homepage of David Lucas. Although I did not find a book trailer for The Robot and the Bluebird, I would like to share these gorgeous images of robots and their feathered friends. Click on each image to be taken to the web source.

blue3
Benjamin Jaekle talks about robots and video games in his article.
From The Art of Animation by Goro Fujita.
From The Art of Animation by Goro Fujita.
If you visit this link, you will find another robot and bird creation by Goro. I am not sure if it's the same Goro as the one mentioned in the previous image.
If you visit this link, you will find another robot and bird creation by Goro. I am not sure if it’s the same Goro as the one mentioned in the previous image.

Currently Reading…

doll1

Doll Bones by Holly Black

wikki1

The Wikkeling by Steve Arntson and Daniela Terrazzini

monster1

And I’ve just finished reading The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey.
Loved it! 


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Reading Challenge Update: 261, 262, 263 (25)

5 comments on “[Monday Reading] Robot Stories That Tug at the Heartstrings

  1. Cool selection of books! 😀

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  2. I love these robot books. If we don’t have them in our school library I’ll have to them. I can always get those reluctant little people interested in them. My head is filled with the possibility of pairing these with some information books on robots. Oh the projects we could delve I to!

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  3. And there’s also BOY & BOT by Ame Dyckman, also illustrated by Dan Yaccarino (who’s got a thing for robots!) 😀

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  4. Love those robot books! Thank you… I agree, Boy & Bot is wonderful as well…

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  5. I have to put Rick Yancey on my TBR list. I’ve heard nothing but good reviews.I enjoyed The Wikkeling so I’m surprised someone else knows about it!

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