Ms. Skurzynski follows the development of robots from rudimentary mechanical playthings to prototype astrobots like Genghis, the two-pound, six-legged, insect-like, planetary-explorer that will go where no man has gone before. Illustrated throughout with choice, pertinent, and well-annotated, full-color photographs, these fascinating volumes prove Ms. Skurzynski as gifted a writer of nonfiction as fiction.
School Library Journal
An up-to-the-minute look at what robots can and cannot (yet) do, accompanied by intriguing, well-chosen full-color photographs. The idea of mechanical beings may be an old one, but, as Skurzynski shows, it was the computer revolution of the '60s and '70s that really fired up the study of robotics. It is the quality of being programmable that separates true robots from teleoperated devices that can perform eye surgery or handle radioactive materials, but only under a human being's direct control. Skurzynski discusses both in a clear, nontechnical way; peeks into the future; and closes with the message that, so far at least, robots are smart but not sentient. The author gives bare notice to film robots, and Isaac Asimov is mentioned only in a list of robotic milestones (he coined the word robotics ). There is no bibliography or list of other information sources (as well as no glossary); the frequently updated Museum of Science and Industry Basic List of Children's Science Books (ALA) is a good place to locate supplementary materials. This is readable, visually attractive, but incomplete. --John Peters, New York Public Library