Young Sam knows that robots live on their own planet in outer space.
Timmers, a Belgian, gives colors of tooth-cracking radiance to his comical characters, setting them against fields of luminous white. Sam, a little dark-haired white boy, is nuts about robots. He thinks they live on a faraway planet. His family pooh-poohs him: “You watch too much TV, son,” says his mother. Only the old radio—the kind that sort of looks like a robot’s head—agrees: “Everybody knows that!” So Sam sets about building a robot who will understand him, a wonderful contraption made out of a vacuum cleaner, garden tools, lamp stands, a fan, and guess what for a head? Eh voilà—Franky: Franky who plays robots with Sam, Franky who speaks in what looks like molecular models, Franky who is a barrel of fun until one day he stands looking out the window at the sky. That night, an army of Frankys arrives in a spaceship to take him home. One could mine this book for subtexts—imaginary friends, the creator of life having to let it go, and the simple truth that extraterrestrial beings are made out of Electrolux canisters—but its surface qualities are equally, if not more than, adequate for high entertainment purposes.
An imaginative and visual pleasure as well as confirmation that spaceships don’t beep and blink but sound like spring cleaning. (Picture book. 4-8)