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.