This is a fun visual reboot of the simple how-to book. Schwarz uses the graphic design elements familiar from instruction manuals to augment her children's graphic novel format. I love how the main text of the book is entirely in graphic novel format, allowing dialog to rule the text. She used the dialog to set up gags with a straight-man/funny-man structure. Her simple graphic coloring techniques are consistent with her drawing style--somehow a charming combination of tightness and looseness to the lines. To me it said 'homemade doesn't have to mean shoddy'. When I got to the end and saw a robot party with kids all making their own costumes, I was willing to bet Schwarz actually had this party!
I did think it was misleading not to note explicitly on the title page that this is actually a book about making robot costumes
, not robots. But there's a pretend play thing going on that Schwarz brings up in the earliest dialog, so it doesn't feel like a lie.
The interesting backstory here is Flying Eye Books. An imprint of independent art-house graphic design group Nowbrow, the list of titles is short but impressive. The Hilda series has seen some notoriety, but there is a nice stable of talent here! It made me wonder how this UK company got their books into a Colorado library collection? Lu, who bought this and how did they know?