7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #763: Featuring Tom Gauld

h1 October 3rd, 2021 by jules

Tom Gauld’s The Little Wooden Robot and the Log Princess (Neal Porter Books, August 2021) is the kind of story that feels like a classic — like a book you perhaps read twenty years ago — yet also feels fresh and new and compelling.

Using comics-esque constructions, such as panels and crisp-lined cartoon artwork, Gauld tells the story of two siblings, the characters named in the title. The king and queen of a “pleasant land” long for children. The king visits the royal inventor, a clever woman who creates a little wooden robot, and the queen visits the green-skinned local witch, who grabs a log and uses her magic to form a “perfect little log princess.” The siblings are close, and the family is happy.

The catch, however, is that the princess nightly turns back into a log, and only magic words will wake her: “Awake, little log, awake.” The robot wakes his sister daily, and they have grand adventures. One day, he fails to wake his sister, and the maid takes what she thinks is a plain old log and disposes of it. When the little robot discovers this, he sets out to find his sister, turn her back into a princess, and bring her home. And in the process, the sister, in turn, must help her brother. (And why it takes a famiy of beetles to help them both I will leave for you to discover.)

These are endearing characters. They hold a deep and abiding love for one another that never comes across as cloying. It’s a story with heart and adventure, and the stakes are high here. It will leave young readers gasping (the maid throws the log, who is really the princess, out of the window?!), eagerly turning pages to learn what will happen next and rooting for the siblings. The pacing is spot-on, Gauld varying his page compositions and use of panels in a satisyfing way. Best of all, there are two deliciously tantalizing pages (one pictured below) in which readers are given hints as to the many adventures of the intrepid siblings as they try to save one another, “too many adventures to recount here.” These pages, in particular, are 110% delightful. (I’d like a whole book about The Magic Pudding, thanks very much.)

Here are some spreads below so that you can see for yourself.

Don’t miss one. It’s irresistible.



(Click either image above to see spread in its entirety)


“The robot ran to the barge. ‘Please, sir,’ he said to the captain.
‘My special log is in your barge. May I come aboard and search for it?'”

(Click spread to enlarge)



(Click either image above to see spread in its entirety)


“The princess knew that whatever happened, however tired she felt,
she must not fall asleep. …”

(Click spread to enlarge)


(Click cover to enlarge)


THE LITTLE WODDEN ROBOT AND THE LOG PRINCESS. Text copyright and illustrations copyright © 2021 by Tom Gauld. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Neal Porter Books, Holiday House, New York.

* * * Jules’s Kicks * * *

Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.

1) Getting the hang of it.

2) “Monday” by Alex Dimitrov.

3) New music from Elbow! (Thanks to Little Willow for the heads-up.)



4) October!

5) Seeing (what I think were) two storks on a walk with a friend.

6) One morning this week, I curled up in a ball on the floor like a cat, next to my cat, in a pool of sunshine by the front door, and it was the best five minutes of my week.

7) Laszlo swallowing a harmonica (spoiler) in this week’s episode of What We Do in the Shadows.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

7 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #763: Featuring Tom Gauld”

  1. The Queen of the Mushrooms, yes! I might have to get this book for my sub bag.
    Jules, your kick number 6 rock! I totally get it. and happy for October.
    My kicks:
    1. Today, a wedding of a former student. Outside. Rachel, it’s in Dufur. (up in the Columbia Gorge).
    2. Started BEWILDERMENT by Richard Powers. It is so captivating.
    3. Writing.
    4. Poetry,
    5. Blue skies and yellow leaves against them.
    6. Buster snuggles.
    7. Cybils nominations are open.
    Have a great week.

  2. 1. started a booklist of possible Christmas present books to give, all from 7Imp, CC, and BookPage 🙂
    2.reading about Rachel Field and Hitty, Her First 100 Years
    3. rainy sunday!
    4. grown-up neighbor kids home to surprise their dad
    5. teaching our grandchild to say “OW!” and shriek with laughter
    6. board-book shower for friend’s daughter
    7. Margaret Renkl’s NYT posts

  3. Good morning, Imps! I hope that you are all doing well. Happy new month to you!

    Hi Tom! Hello to the robots and princesses, too. May none of you be thrown out of windows ever again. 🙂 I especially like that page showcasing multiple adventures!

    Jules: You’re welcome! I have listened to that song dozens of times. It’s so beautiful. Kudos for curling up beside your cat! I love it when they find a spot of sunshine like that, and I’m glad you took a minute for yourself to enjoy it, too.

    Jone: I love the wording of our fifth kick! So simple and true.

    Mary: Hello to the neighbors, the relatives, and the laughter!

    My kicks from the past week:
    1) The new Elbow song
    2) Tenacity
    3) Attire
    4) Prep
    5) New
    6) Water
    7) Brushes

  4. Looks enchanting and unique!

  5. What a beautiful story, and the illustrations are so fun. I really want to know more about the magic pudding and the lonely bear.

    Jules – my love for What We Do In the Shadows grows each week. That writers room must be so much fun! That moment in the sun with your cat sounds divine. So glad you took the time to enjoy the sun and that moment of peace and beauty.

    Jone – the days of crisp cealr weather in-between the rain have been so gorgeous. Enjoy the wedding! You sent me down an interwebs rabbit hole on Dufur and now I’m planning a drive out to enjoy the landscapes later this month.

    Mary – laughing kids are the best, as is making a list of books for gifting. Enjoy the rainy Sunday!

    Little Willow – Tenacity is a wonderful kick, loving that one the most this week.

    My kicks:
    1) Kicking off spooky season with a re-watch of Love At First Bite. Cheesy, campy fun.
    2) Fun interactions with John Stamos (Have mercy!) on INstagram after I posted he’d be great in a reboot of Love At First Bite. Now if I can just get a pitch meeting with Disney.
    3) A morning game of tennis.
    4) Getting a surprise pizza from a friend after a long day.
    5) Sunday morning coffee and snuggles with Daisy.
    6) Making an October watch list of silly spooky movies. Bedknobs and Broomsticks is up next.
    7) My niece had a healthy baby boy at the end of September, and he is adorable. Looking forward to getting to meet him, and visit with their whole family – including his two older brothers – when its safer to visit.
    7.5) Colder weather and the cozy rituals that go with it.

  6. Jone, love your fifth kick, and I’ll have to look up that book by Powers.

    Mary, I am also always grateful for Margaret’s posts. So glad 7-Imp can be a good resource for book-giving.

    Little Willow: AND TOHSE LYRICS. Good heavens, Guy Garvey is a genius. .. Tenacity. Woot! You’re one of the most delightfully tenacious people I know.

    Andrea: It is!

    Rachel: Colin Robinson sends me into hysterics. … I saw that Stamos interaction and was happy for you. What a thrill. Congrats on the new babe in the family, and hugs to Daisy!

    Have a good week, you all …

  7. Jules: Agreed! What a beautiful tribute. Found this: https://www.udiscovermusic.com/news/elbow-the-seldom-seen-kid/

    Hi Rachel and Daisy!

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