Robot Zot!

Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
Robot Zot! Book Poster Image
Energetic read that some parents may find too violent.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value
Positive Messages

Zot’s aggression is tempered by love once he encounters what he believes is “the Queen of all Earth.” When the odds seem insurmountable, he musters up the courage to save the queen, even if he must sacrifice himself. When Zot gets away, a dog gets blamed for the damage done to the house.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Zot shifts his focus from conquering Earth to rescuing its queen, putting her (supposed) needs ahead of his own goals. He sets fear aside and shows considerable bravery.

Violence & Scariness

This is a violent book, but in the giddy spirit of kids playing superhero or cowboy games. Zot is a “warlord” who plans to defeat “dangerous” Earth, and he leaves a trail of destruction in his wake.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know there’s abundant mayhem in this lively, action-packed adventure. Robot Zot sets off with his blaster to conquer Earth, where every mundane object he encounters -- a TV, a toaster, a blender -- seems to be a dangerous enemy. A hapless dog ends up taking the blame for the destruction wreaked by Zot.

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What's the story?

Robot Zot crashes onto Earth, intent on defeating the planet: “Robot Zot! Wham Bot!” He bravely stomps off into an ordinary home, seeing danger in every direction and blasting away at appliances. Until he sees what he believes must be the Queen of all Earth -- a toy phone. Rescuing her is the greatest challenge he’s faced yet, but Robot Zot sets aside his fears and becomes Hero Zot.

Is it any good?

Parents who are trying to keep violence- and gun-free homes will want to give this one a wide berth. The gleeful, blast-‘em-up ethos will rightly give many other parents pause -- this pushes the envelope even for 5-year-olds, and it goes too far for younger kids in the publisher's recommended reading range of 3- to 7-year-olds. But older kids who delight in rambunctious, imaginative play will be delighted to find a book to match their energy level. And if you can get them to sit still a few minutes after reading it, you may be able to talk together about the folly of Zott’s aggressive, button-thumping approach.

Jon Scieszka’s robotic text sets the stage for David Shannon’s joke-filled illustrations. Kids will delight in seeing the clueless adult trying to make sense of the wreckage done by Zot, and the ferocity on Zot’s face as he confronts harmless kitchen appliances.

The animated illustrations tell the real story of the exploits of Robot Zot, who is a legend in his own mind. Background details reward close viewing.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Robot Zot’s view of Earth. Why does he see such ordinary things as monsters? He doesn’t seem to know much about Earth. Do you think he would have attacked so ferociously if he knew more about Earth before landing?

  • In the end, Robot Zot escapes safely with his queen. Do you think he’s really a hero? What makes someone brave or heroic?

Book details

For kids who love aliens and raucous reads

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