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Celia's Robot Hardcover – November 1, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

For her birthday, fifth-grader Celia Chow receives an unusual present: a prototype worker robot, a fantastical invention designed by her dad and able to do nearly everything—including keeping Celia focused, whether she is practicing the violin, doing homework, or cleaning her room. Though Robot is somewhat bossy, with her parents often away working, Celia increasingly appreciates its companionship. Because her father worries about competitors trying to steal it, Robot is supposed to be a secret, though Celia is allowed to bring it to school, where, after helping rescue a cat, Robot’s photo appears in the newspaper. Soon after, Robot goes missing, and aided by her sometimes contentious classmate Tim, Celia sets off on a suspenseful, somewhat dangerous quest to find it. Celia is an appealing protagonist whose first-person narrative reflects her Chinese American background and sympathetically conveys the impact of her parents’ too-frequent absences. Overall, an entertaining and thoughtful read. Grades 4-6. --Shelle Rosenfeld

About the Author

Margaret Chang has coauthored children's books set in China with her husband. A former children's librarian, she has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in children's literature and lives in Williamstown, Massachusetts. This is her first book for Holiday House.


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 and up
  • Grade Level: 4 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 740L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 211 pages
  • Publisher: Holiday House; 1 edition (November 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0823421813
  • ISBN-13: 978-0823421817
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,715,836 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This was another book that I think my 6th grade students would like. This book is just a good old feel good story. Celia has a father who has constructed the ultimate helpful robot. Celia has a hard time getting out bed, cleaning her room, doing her homework, etc. She is the typical adolescent. Her father builds her a computer that only responds to her. She can teach it tricks like picking up her room, French braiding her hair, and several other helpful tricks. At first, she has a hard time with the robot because it refuses to let her do anything but what is expected. She must come home and do her homework, clean the dishes, set out her clothes before bed. However, the routine the robot expects her to follow helps her stay organized and Celia realizes that doing these things makes life easier. That is the one part of the book that drove me crazy. She did not really fight the system. She was just fine with changing and it was never a problem. What adolescent does not fight cleaning their room or their closet?

All stories must have a conflict. The conflict here is that the father wants nobody to find out about the robot he created. There are people who want to copy this robot and make mad cash. Needless to say that the robot is discovered and several events pursue from this point.

For students that want a good light hearted read this is your book. Nothing to bad happens, nothing violent, nothing too mean, just enough to create a nice storyline about growing up, getting noticed, and finding out who your friends are. I did feel like it took too long to get any real conflict going. I loved the idea and would love to have a robot like this for my house. It was just a little to "happy" for me. I needed something a little more severe to happen. However, not everyone thinks like me and this book could be perfect for them. Check it out!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By DAC VINE VOICE on May 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover
10yr old Celia Chow is not very organized. After everything goes completely wrong one school morning, Celia's dad thinks of the perfect birthday gift, a robot. Robot keeps Celia on task. Celia's mom is White and her dad is Chinese. There are moments when Celia wonders what others see when they look at her family. Celia worries her parents fight too much.

I really enjoyed this book. Celia was a very well drawn character. I thought it was pretty cool that her hobby was picking locks. The author does an excellent job with the Chow family relationships.

I was also pleasantly surprised to discover, there's a bad guy. Another computer scientist, Mr. Fisher wants to steal Robot. When Robot goes missing Celia is determined to get, her new friend back. There were a few exciting and scary moments when Celia confronts the men who took Robot.

"I reached into Robot's body and picked out the wire connecting the locator to the big battery. Fisher had left all his tools scattered around. It was easy to find the right one to splice the wire again. It was all I could do for Robot. I longed to make it whole, but I knew it was more important to find Dad's laptop. My legs felt weak and trembly, so I steadied myself by holding the edge of the bench.

The swish of an opening door startled me. I spun around to see a tall bony man coming through the door at the back of the lab. His curly blond hair framed a face that looked as if it had been colored with white chalk, and his eyes were as blue and cold as a winter sky. He could have been handsome, but he wasn't. He looked horrible. I started to run but he was too quick."
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