Soviet kids'-book robots

Will from the Journey Round My Skull blog has been scanning vintage, Soviet-era robot illustrations from Eastern European science fictional kids books -- the pictures are just lovely.

A Journey Round My Skull: Mummy Was A Robot, Daddy Was A Small Non-Stick Kitchen Utensil (Thanks, Dr. Monkey!)


  1. The book visuals are amazing.

    The visual I get from the book’s title is one I could have done without… it’s one of those phrases which is kid-safe but not adult-safe.

  2. “Mummy Was A Robot, Daddy Was A Small Non-Stick Kitchen Utensil”

    Phil Manzanera, the guitarist for Roxy Music, and his group, “801”, released a song called, “Mummy Was An Asteroid, Daddy Was A Small Non-Stick Kitchen Utensil” about 15-20 years ago, which has one of my favorite guitar solos. So, someone was inspired by someone else, and credit where it is due.

  3. Thanks Cory!

    Craw, I credited that title at the bottom of the post — it’s a song by Quiet Sun, which features Eno and Charles Hayward (pre-This Heat) in addition to Manzanera, and I think it’s Bill MacCormick’s song. Great album.

  4. I love the technological generational gap, depicted so eloquently.

    I certainly remember feeling like the calculator to my parent’s abacus; the reverse feeling about my children is enough to make me realize it’s over. :)

  5. Skull,

    Sorry I missed your crediting Quiet Sun.

    As Emily Littella (Gilda Radner) used to say, “Oh. Never mind.” :-)


  6. Related query: maybe someone can identify and locate this book (and prove I didn’t dream the whole thing).

    Many years ago at the Beaches branch of the Toronto Public Library I read a children’s book called “Cybernetics A to Z”. Each page had a letter of the alphabet and a concept from cybernetics, the name of which started with that letter. For example “M is for Maxwell’s Demon”, followed by a short paragraph explaining the concept and a picture showing two chambers with a small opening between them and a goblin/gremlin type creature guarding the way.

    I’ve since been back and asked a librarian but it isn’t in their system. I’ve searched the web and found nothing like it, though there is a book of the same title, also published in Russia, it doesn’t appear to be a children’s picture book.

    Was I dreaming? Has anyone else seen this book?

  7. Stfn, I found the Cybernetics book for not much cash. It was published in English by Moscow-based press Mir in 1974 (and in Russian in 1970). I posted some images from the “Robot” entry. I will likely post more bits from it eventually as it is quite a document. I don’t think it is exactly aimed at students, but there are funky kidz-book-like illustrations throughout.

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