THE ROBOT KING by Brian Selznick


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 9 - 12
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 From the author of The Houdini Box (1991), a haunting, enigmatic tale of two lonely children who create something wonderful. Ezra, mute since his mother's death, compulsively collects small thingspebbles, bits of glass, clock parts, wires, keysthat older sister Lucy uses to craft mechanical toys. When she assembles a man-sized figure and inserts their mother's music box as a heart, it comes aliveand what life! Sparks fly from it, pieces that fall or break off whirl through the air, and when it escapes the attic, it leaves a trail of animated bicycles and other machines for the children to follow. The story ends on a suspended note; Lucy and Ezra never do catch up to the Robot King, but a ferris wheel spins them skyward, where they touch the moon and catch a glimpse of their long-absent father returning home. Readers will respond deeply to this, and to the return of Ezra's speech, but they may wish for a stronger sense of closure, and for more of the lovely illustrations, too. Selznick's dark, soft-textured pencil drawings enhance the narrative's elegaic air. The Robot King, with its mannequin's head and packed, indistinct body half-hidden beneath a long velvet jacket, cuts an oddly elegant figure, and the human faces are rendered with a sad, composed beauty. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 1995
ISBN: 0-06-024493-3
Page count: 80pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 1995


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