In this English-language debut, intricate cut-paper silhouettes illustrate a one-armed robot’s search for its missing limb.
Looking rather like a windup R2-D2, the robot poses in a series of clockwork-adorned settings while rejecting each of the alternative members offered by its small, Roomba-shaped companion. No, a fork won’t do, nor an umbrella or a tree branch, nor a lollipop, a screwdriver, or a picture in a book. Where is that arm? Takeuchi tucks the two diminutive searchers into a cutaway house, an amusement park, an aquarium crowded with X-ray fish, a bustling robot-assembly plant, and other locales, all depicted in silhouette and composed dominantly of straight lines enlivened with subtle curves and populated by robots of notably diverse shape and size. The casually phrased narrative (at a candy shop: “Shall we look in here? Sweet!”; at the aquarium: “How about this fish bone? No way!”) contrasts amusingly with the art’s geometric spirit and ends with a resigned “Maybe a fork is not such a bad arm after all.” Young readers will of course be looking for the errant appendage throughout, but the author (tricksily, considering the title) reveals it only on the final page, in the robo-dog’s dish.
A robo-pleaser. (Picture book. 5-8)