Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
Robo-Sauce Book Poster Image
Crazy-silly robot tale activates blasts of robo-mayhem.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Shows old-school, boxy-looking metal robots. Kids (and perhaps parents) follow instructions to fold the "Robo-Book" properly to read the "new" story created after the robots take over.

Positive Messages

Be careful what you wish for. Maybe being a robot isn't better than being a regular kid. The unseen narrator reminds the boy of what he's missing by being a robot: "You're too big to sleep in your bed, your friends are all scared of you, and if you try to hug your parents, you'll smash them to smithereens."

Positive Role Models & Representations

The unseen narrator seems like a prankster, but in the end he reminds Robo-Kid of the nice things he had as a human, like friends, his dog, and parents he could hug. The boy is so aggressive when he plays robot (before transforming into one) that his family members run away. The narrator tells him, "If you were a real robot, everyone would want to play with you all the time." But it doesn't work out that way, because Robo-Kid blasts and smashes everything in his path.

Violence & Scariness

Cartoony robot destruction: smashing, blasting, and a robo-tornado. Robo-kid also blasts robo-sauce on his parents, sister, dog, and friends, turning them into robots.


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Robo-Sauce, by Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri, the team behind Dragons Love Tacos, is the zany story of a boy who wants to be a robot, so he drinks a secret "robo-sauce" (the unseen narrator gives him the fictional secret formula for it), and all heck breaks loose. "Robo-Kid" activates a robo-rocket blast, a robo-laser blast, and a robo-tornado and rampages through town. All leads to robo-domination, and kids have to turn the book upside down to read the final pages of the "Robo-Book." It's crazy, silly fun. Parents may need to help younger kids fold the pages properly to create the Robo-Book (there are diagrams).

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What's the story?

A young boy makes himself a robot costume but longs to be a real robot. The unseen narrator supplies the secret formula for ROBO-SAUCE (with fictional ingredients such as "plaxico powder" and "gluten-free kookamonga flakes") that does the trick. But things get out of control when he activates a Robo-Sauce Launcher that shoots the neon-orange goo onto his parents and sister, and they become robots -- and then the family dog, their house, and friends. Then it's "Activate Robo-Story," and readers must turn the book upside down to read how that story comes. There are instructions on how to fold the pages properly to create that new "Robo-Book with a shiny foil cover.  

Is it any good?

This wacky story of robot domination has the exuberant look and feel of a story two kids might come up with with a pencil and notebook paper at the back of a classroom. The grown-up boys who created it let their imaginations run wild and take things to their logical (?) conclusion, showing what happens when you get Robo-Sauce all over everything. You could change your family and the world forever!

As you can see on the metallic-looking cover of the Robo-Book, even the author and illustrator got turned into robots. Their names are listed as "Android Rubot" and "Salmatron 5000." Parents may need to help kids with the folding of those pages; diagrams are provided.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about robots. Why are we so fascinated by them?

  • Robot technology is in lots of things now: phones, cars, TVs. What's fun about the boxy old-style robots like the ones pictured in this book? Is it more fun to imagine robots such as those than the kinds in our devices?

  • If you could be turned into a robot, what would you look like? Draw a picture of your robot self.

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love humor and robots

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