An ancient artifact, LOL, leads a 25th-century fugitive from the Skyburb 7 Home for Unclaimed Urchins and his beagle-bot, Oscar, to buried treasure.
The small black item that his museum-worker friend Jessie hands over seems uninteresting to Max at first…until he manages to charge it up and discovers that it’s a 400-year-old cellphone with a trove of selfies—one of which shows a long-lost statue of famous actor–turned-politician Nicole Squidman. Can Max use clues from the photo to find the priceless statue, then keep both it and himself out of the clutches of archnemesis Capt. Selby of the Recapture Squad, and perhaps even track down a descendant of the phone’s owner? No problem…with plenty of help from Jessie and Oscar (a surprisingly capable robo-pooch with a 3-D printer in its butt), plus a few massive contrivances from Macintosh. Atze’s occasional cartoon vignettes add an appropriate vibe to a largely white futuristic world of hover-skates, robo-rats, and floating suburbs. But some things, like friends, bullies, and the special relationship between a boy and his dog, never change. A “Sleuth Truth” appendix fills in the cellphone’s early years.
A helter-skelter caper from Down Under, with the occasional “broken gizmatron or ancient thingami-bot” from ages past to puzzle over. (Science fiction/mystery. 7-9)