The Adventures of Robo-Kid

Neal Porter/Holiday House/. Jun. 2022. 32p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780823449767.
PreS-Gr 2–Fiction and reality blur when a robot superhero escapes his comic book and helps a faithful reader conquer his fears. Henry can hardly tear himself away from Robo-Kid’s heroics, but it’s time for swim lessons. When he closes the book, a parallel narrative inside the comic book reveals that Robo-Kid seeks more than cartoonish action. Opportunity arises when he sees that Henry is nervous about swimming, and so Robo-Kid leaps from the frames of his comic book to assist his biggest fan. When Robo-Kid takes an accidental dip in the pool, Henry finds the motivation to push past his fears and save the day. Rendered in two distinctively different styles, the illustrations are the standout here. The comic book world is bright and flat, with an emphasis on primary colors, while Henry’s real-world illustrations are drawn in deGroat’s signature style: softer and more three-dimensional, with gentle shading. Observant readers will enjoy catching clever details in the art. The book’s straightforward plot is fairly light on substance but brimming with kid appeal. The concept of a favorite fictional character leaping into the real world is enticing, and positive themes of bravery, self-confidence, and helping others are welcome. Henry and his family are white, but the supporting cast includes people of color.
VERDICT A good addition to any picture book collection, especially where superhero stories are in demand.

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