The Little Wooden Robot and the Log Princess

by Tom Gauld (Author)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

In acclaimed graphic novelist Tom Gauld's first picture book for children, a little wooden robot embarks on a quest to find his missing sister-- making for a memorable contemporary bedtime story.

For years, the king and queen tried desperately to have a baby. Their wish was twice granted when an engineer and a witch gave them a little wooden robot and an enchanted log princess. There's just one catch, every night when the log princess sleeps, she transforms back into an ordinary log. She can only be woken with the magic words Awake, little log, awake. The two are inseparable until one day when the sleeping log princess is accidentally carted off to parts unknown. Now it's up to her devoted brother to find her and return her safely to the kingdom. They need to take turns to get each other home, and on the way, they face a host of adventures involving the Queen of Mushrooms, a magic pudding, a baby in a rosebush, and an old lady in a bottle.

This is acclaimed graphic novelist Tom Gauld's first picture book for children, inspired by a bedtime story he made up for his daughters. In his words, I was trying to make a book inspired by three different sets of books: The books that I remember enjoying as a child, the books that I watched my daughters enjoying, and the books I enjoy now as an adult. I wanted the book to have its own quirky feeling but also to function like a classic bedtime story.

A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection

Horn Book Magazine

Starred Review
In his children's book debut, Gauld demonstrates his love for odd, funny, invented archetypes (such as the Queen of the Mushrooms) while elsewhere playing it absolutely straight, showing respect for his audience and for the fairy-tale form.

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review
 A marvelous journey. . . . Gauld's crisp, clear art, along with captivating small details in backgrounds and endpapers, add richness to the narrative. . . . Gauld's fairy tale feels both timeless and completely new; utterly fresh, yet like a story heard long ago and finally found again. Enchanting.


Starred Review
The beautifully worded narrative and engaging artwork combine to give this picture book its considerable appeal. . . . A captivating, original fairy tale.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review

This invented fairy tale by cartoonist Gauld (Mooncop, for adults) offers whimsy, imaginative power, and narrative poise. When a king and a queen longing for offspring each see an expert about the topic, an inventor creates a wooden robot, and a witch charms a log into a princess who has a secret: she turns back into a log if she falls asleep. Though the children are devoted to each other, the robot fails to conjure the princess anew one fateful morning ("Awake, little log, awake"), and a maid tosses the seemingly out-of-place log out the window. The robot gives chase as the princess hurtles downhill and into a gigantic boatload of lumber headed for the frozen North: "That log is the most precious thing in the world to me," he says, as he follows it on its journey. The rest of the story unfolds with amusing fairy-tale inevitability ("he had too many adventures to recount here" precedes a paneled page of humorous scenarios) as Gauld's stick-figure characters and clean, flat panel artwork deliver visual information with the detailed calm of a map or a set of instructions. Ages 4-8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Aug.)

Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

What an astonishingly sweet book. I worried about the log princess, loved all the adventures we never saw, and cheered the family of beetles.—Neil Gaiman

A wooden masterpiece.—Lemony Snicket

The part about the witch is really, really good.—Lisa Brown

Tom Gauld has created a masterful classic fairytale of a picture book that hits in all the right ways. In his inimitable style, he has squeezed royalty, robots, witches, inventors, trolls, sea-captains, forests, ghosts, and... beetles (!) into a beautiful, odd, adventurous and satisfying story. All wrapped up, of course, with the bow of sibling love.—Oliver Jeffers

There's a whole universe within these pages. Fun to read, clever, and kind.—Jillian Tamaki

Tom Gauld is one of the best storytellers working and everything he does so well is here - it is beautiful, immersive, expertly told, and breathes completely on its own. I am jealous of it.—Jon Klassen

I didn't know the world needed another fairy tale until I read this funny, beautiful, perfect book.—Carson Ellis

Written and illustrated by an award-winning cartoonist and graphic novelist, this book spins a modern day fairytale which introduces young readers to a magical universe chock-full of interesting characters. Children will pour over the whimsical cartoon-style pen drawings detailed with cross hatching and colored in muted tones as they search for objects and characters shown in the background throughout the story.—School Library Connection

Tom Gauld
Tom Gauld (Aberdeenshire, Escocia, 1976) estudió Ilustración en el Edinburgh College of Art y en el Royal College of Art. Ha colaborado en The Guardian, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Believer y Granta. Es autor de diecinueve libros, entre los que destacan Goliat, Todo el mundo tiene envidia de mi mochila voladora y Un policía en la luna, estos dos últimos publicados en Salamandra Graphic. En la actualidad vive en Londres, donde trabaja como ilustrador y caricaturista.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Neal Porter Books
Publication date
August 20, 2021
New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children's Books
ALSC Notable Children's Book
Selection 2022

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