Power Down, Little Robot

Book review by
Patricia Tauzer, Common Sense Media
Power Down, Little Robot Book Poster Image
Funny sci-fi take on the how-to-get-your-kid-to-bed story.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Besides information about the robots themselves, many futuristic details to find and discuss; note how language changes show the robot is complaining in the same way a human kid might. 

Positive Messages

Going to bed can be hard for kids, but a patient parent can keep it from being impossible.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Though Little Robot is reluctant to go to bed, the mother unit remains calm and firm. Bedtime reluctance does not become a war of wills; no tantrum, no power moves. 

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Power Down, Little Robot is a cute bedtime story perfect for beginning sci-fi enthusiasts. Even though the struggle here is between the mother unit and her robot son, the story is the usual one about what it takes to get junior to bed, and most kids and parents will relate to the tricks, feelings, and solutions. Futuristic illustrations and robot lingo definitely add to the space-age fun. 

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What's the story?

It's bedtime, and, as with many energetic young kids, Little Robot will do anything to keep from "powering down" and going to bed. He's thirsty for a cup of oil, dillydallies in the bathroom, begs for a story, says his circuits ache and he needs to share a secret -- the usual ploys. But the mother unit is wise to his tricks, and before long he's tucked into his "sleep module," slips into "sleep mode," and has "initiated his dream sequence."

Is it any good?

This is a light, clever twist on the "how to get junior to bed" story. Kids who like robots especially will like it. The little red robot is a cute, funny fellow, and he uses language as a robot kid might. He brushes his cogs instead of his teeth, is afraid his dreams will have error messages, reads manuals rather than storybooks, is tucked into his sleep module, and so on.

With a unique blend of stains and glazes, the acrylic illustrations add just the right sci-fi tone for young kids; they're futuristic and have enough detail to embellish but not overwhelm the story.  

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the author made Little Robot and his mother talk. How is what they say the same as your way of talking? What things are different? Do you think that makes the characters more real or not? 

  • What things do you recognize in the Space Age illustrations? How are the details like things you've already seen? How are they different? Is that how you'd imagine a robot world? Would you add or change anything? 

  • Do you ever have to go to bed before you're ready? What kinds of things do you do to stall? Does your parent deal with you like the Mother Unit in this story? How about in other bedtime stories you've read? 

Book details

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