The Robot King by Brian Selznick.
HarperCollins Publishers: NY, 1995.

Lucy builds a robot out of found and collected objects in the attic she and her brother play in. It comes to life with the addition of personal items of their deceased mother.

The fanciful illustrations are remarkable. The story is intriguing, and oddly it is the 3rd story I read recently using similar ideas: The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Clockwork by Philip Pullman, and this. The illustrations of the Robot King are similar to the automaton in The Invention of Hugo Cabret. The automaton comes to life through mechanics instead of magic, although there is a magical quality about it. In Clockwork, a person is kept alive with a mechanical object. This story was written before the other two.

I do not know how wide the appeal of the story would be. It is greatly fanciful and may be difficult for the targeted age range to follow. It is my least favorite of the books in my study of Selznick. I liked some of the concepts, but I usually prefer more realistic fantasy. It may be fine for people who are more into fairy tale, and they may not need to understand all of it to enjoy it.

related-robots, building with odds and ends, death or loss of a parent, grieving process, magical world, play, remembrance

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