C. J. AtticusThe Official Site
C. J. Atticus has masterfully created a futuristic version of Margaret and H.A. Rey's "Curious George" in his new chapter book for young children, "Stranded in Space: The Stellar Life of Jpeg the Robot Dog". This is the perfect escape for a child with a curious imagination and interest in space. After disobeying Master Johnny, Jpeg finds himself stranded in space and learning some important lessons about friendship and loyalty. Angelika Domschke's engaging robotic illustrations add depth to the machines and "bots" that Jpeg encounters on his outer-space journey. Will he ever re-unite with Master Johnny and have an opportunity to be the "good dog"? Undoubtedly, to be continued in C. J. Atticus' next thrilling edition!
By Robin L. Gordon, Author of "Mackenzie and Blankie", "Lift" and "Peaceful Thoughts".
Down . . . down . . .down . . .sliding . . .sliding . . .sliding! Wahoo! . . . This is fun! . . . This is fast! . . . This is what I like!
At the bottom, I fly off and sail through the air. I land on the floor and slide some more. Wahoo! This is great!
I hit something. I tumble and tumble, and crumple to a stop with my legs pointing out in all directions.
Someone yells, "You bad robot!" I look back and see a human lady sitting on the floor next to her hat. She's rubbing her head. She's a security guard. I better get out of here and fast. Ha, Ha! She'll never catch me!
I run along the corridor until I'm far from her. Hey, I see something else I can do. I'll chase the mailbot again.
The silver robot standing by the cart and wearing a blue cap is busy sorting envelopes. It holds a stack in its mechanical hands while it reads the addresses. The mailbot doesn't notice me.
I sneak forward the way I've see birddogs do in videos. I tiptoe on my paws and point my snout. After a microsecond, I jump!
"Bark! Bark! Bark!"
The mailbot jerks its arms. The envelopes fly up into the air and flutter down to the shiny floor.
As I run away, I glance back. The mailbot shakes a fist. "You bad robot!"
I open the trapdoor on top of my head. My antenna rises up and sends the radio signals.
Bip-bip! . . . Bip-bip-bip! . . . Bip!
The lock clicks. The door slides open and tucks inside the wall.
Hey, that worked!
I walk through the door and go out into the corridor.
"I know what I'll do first," I say to myself. "I'll slide down the escalator."
I walk along the corridor to the escalator. Human boys and girls stand on those steps and ride downstairs. Sometimes I ride, but I'd rather slide.
The escalator has two sets of steps. One set goes downstairs, and one set goes upstairs. Between them is a long strip of polished metal. It resembles a playground slide that human children enjoy. I hop up, jump, and land on my back. Down I go!
"I can fix that," M.A.M.I.E says. "You need a new microchip to fill your head."
"Will it make me better at games?" I ask.
"It will make you wise, Jpeg."
"No thank you. I just want to enjoy being a robot dog."
"Jpeg, the magnificent Zettabyte ZB1 microchip will make you smart and a better friend to Master Johnny. Nothing is more important for a robot dog than being a human boy's best friend."
"I'll think about that later. For now, I'm going outside to chase machines and bots."
I trot over to the front door but it doesn't open. The electric eye ignores me.
"Open. Open now."
I bet M.A.M.I.E. ordered the door not to let me out. This electric eye is only an object. If it were a gadget I could talk to it. I'll have to use radio signals. We machines use them all the time.
"Yes, Jpeg, I see that you're crawling. Are you sneaking out of the apartment again?"
"I'm not sneaking out," I say. "I'm walking out."
"You're a smart-aleck, Jpeg. No wonder Master Johnny is always upset with you. You need to be taught a lesson."
A loud buzz erupts from her speaker. The two mechanical arms drop the plate into the sink water, bend their arms at the elbow, and come to attention. Their fight is over.
"Jpeg, I want you to listen to me."
"No thank you, M.A.M.I.E. Master Johnny lectures me enough."
"He's a boy. He's struggling to be happy with you."
"Master Johnny is never happy with me. He says I have a bolt rolling around inside my empty head."
"My dad threatened to ground me for what you did," Johnny says. "He's making me send you to Dog Obedience School."
"Yes, school. Your two-hundred gigabyte brain wasn't designed to let you chase robots."
"But Master Johnny, sit, speak, rollover, and fetch are old commands. I only want new input. I don't need school for that."
"Jpeg, you can come out of your recharge cubicle, but you're still grounded."
Johnny leaves the apartment for school.
I'm not listening to him. He doesn't control me. I'm going outside to have fun.
As I walk down the hall, I hear my name called from the kitchen.
Uh, oh, it's M.A.M.I.E, which stands for Mnemonic Artificial Mechanical Intelligence Encoder. If she catches me, she'll upload a gripe to Mastery Johnny's PC. She's a powerful computer with a bigger nose than mine.
As I pass the kitchen, I see breakfast being cooked for the family. On the stove, two mechanical arms crack an egg over a frying pan. At the sink, two more arms are in a tug-of-war over a plate. Those two tussle all the time. I bet they have a screw loose.
"Jpeg," says M.A.M.I.E.'s voice. "You and I need to talk."
I drop down to the floor and crawl toward the front door.
The kitchen wall holds M.A.M.I.E.'s comm-panel. Tiny light bulbs blink red, yellow, and green. Her voice comes from a small stereo speaker next to a camera lens--a big lens.
I slump, lean my snout down, and cross my front paws. I've been locked here inside my recharge cubicle all night. I was grounded because yesterday I chased a poor old mailbot delivering letters. Great Sunspots! Chasing machines and bots is my hobby.
Hey, what's that? I hear footsteps.
I stand and wag my wire tail, plop my metal tongue over my aluminum teeth, and brighten my camera eyes' blue lights.
The lock clicks and the door swings open.
It's my owner. He's dressed for school, his blond hair brushed.
"Good morning, Master Johnny. You look handsome today."
"Uh-uh, Jpeg," says Johnny. "Don't be cute. I'm still very disappointed with you."
"I said I was sorry." I tilt my head like a real live puppy. Maybe I'll get a pat on the head.
"Help! I want out of here!"
I bang my paw on the cubicle door.
"It's Jpeg! I'm a robot dog, not a vacuum cleaner!"
My Brain Needs a Spark
The Stellar Life of Jpeg the Robot Dog
A Chapter Book Series Ages 6-8
Copyright 2013 C. J. Atticus
Illustrations Copyright 2013 Angelika Domschke
The exciting adventures of Jpeg the robot dog who searches the universe for the meaning of friendship.