From the Geeger the Robot series , Vol. 1

The first day of school can be scary even if you’re a robot!

Geeger is a robot constructed to eat everything humans don’t want to, like moldy mac and cheese and rotten eggs. Then at night he connects to the DIGEST-O-TRON 5000, which turns that refuse into electricity to power the town of Amblerville. But Geeger is lonely, so he decides to go to school, where he will surely make a friend. He is so nervous about his first day he accidentally eats his backpack. On his way to school he meets Tillie, who likes to jump-rope. Ms. Bork introduces him to the class, and Tillie’s thumbs-up helps to put them at ease as he introduces himself…but then he makes a mistake and eats the class globe (it looks so much like moldy fruit). It is hard for him to overcome his mechanical brain’s order to “EAT! EAT! EAT! EAT! EAT!” Fortunately, Ms. Bork doesn’t get too angry, and recess is fun! This agreeably silly robot tale kicks off a new series of very early chapter books. Ample illustrations that frequently and humorously extend the text, large type (set in boldface for new vocabulary words), a glossary, and comprehension questions make this a solid choice for fledgling chapter-book readers. Elementary-age children will identify with Geeger’s nervousness, his fear of making a mistake, and his impulse control even as they laugh at his antics. Line drawings depict humans with paper-white skin, but names suggest diversity among Geeger’s human classmates.

Welcome, Geeger! (Fiction. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-5217-6

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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Inspiration, shrink wrapped.


From an artist, poet, and Instagram celebrity, a pep talk for all who question where a new road might lead.

Opening by asking readers, “Have you ever wanted to go in a different direction,” the unnamed narrator describes having such a feeling and then witnessing the appearance of a new road “almost as if it were magic.” “Where do you lead?” the narrator asks. The Road’s twice-iterated response—“Be a leader and find out”—bookends a dialogue in which a traveler’s anxieties are answered by platitudes. “What if I fall?” worries the narrator in a stylized, faux hand-lettered type Wade’s Instagram followers will recognize. The Road’s dialogue and the narration are set in a chunky, sans-serif type with no quotation marks, so the one flows into the other confusingly. “Everyone falls at some point, said the Road. / But I will always be there when you land.” Narrator: “What if the world around us is filled with hate?” Road: “Lead it to love.” Narrator: “What if I feel stuck?” Road: “Keep going.” De Moyencourt illustrates this colloquy with luminous scenes of a small, brown-skinned child, face turned away from viewers so all they see is a mop of blond curls. The child steps into an urban mural, walks along a winding country road through broad rural landscapes and scary woods, climbs a rugged metaphorical mountain, then comes to stand at last, Little Prince–like, on a tiny blue and green planet. Wade’s closing claim that her message isn’t meant just for children is likely superfluous…in fact, forget the just.

Inspiration, shrink wrapped. (Picture book. 6-8, adult)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-26949-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2021

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The buoyant uplift seems a bit pre-packaged but spot-on nonetheless.


A monohued tally of positive character traits.

Purple is a “magic color,” affirm the authors (both actors, though Hart’s name recognition is nowhere near the level of Bell’s), and “purple people” are the sort who ask questions, laugh wholeheartedly, work hard, freely voice feelings and opinions, help those who might “lose” their own voices in the face of unkindness, and, in sum, can “JUST BE (the real) YOU.” Unlike the obsessive protagonist of Victoria Kann’s Pinkalicious franchise, being a purple person has “nothing to do with what you look like”—a point that Wiseman underscores with scenes of exuberantly posed cartoon figures (including versions of the authors) in casual North American attire but sporting a wide range of ages, skin hues, and body types. A crowded playground at the close (no social distancing here) displays all this wholesome behavior in action. Plenty of purple highlights, plus a plethora of broad smiles and wide-open mouths, crank up the visual energy—and if the earnest overall tone doesn’t snag the attention of young audiences, a grossly literal view of the young narrator and a grandparent “snot-out-our-nose laughing” should do the trick. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.4-by-20.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 22.2% of actual size.)

The buoyant uplift seems a bit pre-packaged but spot-on nonetheless. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12196-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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