Chang, Margaret. Celia's Robot.
Nominated for the Cybils by Doret
Celia's dad is a computer scientist, and her mother tours with a classical music group. When she is out of town, Celia's world devolves into chaos because she doesn't get up in time, keep her room clean, or do her homework, especially since the family housekeeper has quit. To remedy this, her father designs a robot babysitter for her. It not only wakes her up, but has sorting skills that help her clean her room. Since it's more fun to work with a robot than to fight with her mother, Celia's world calms down. However, there are evil scientists after her father's robot, and with the help of a neighbor boy whom she has previously found obnoxious, Celia uses her smarts and skills to outwit him and save the day.
Strengths: Supportive, multicultural family (father is Chinese-American and mother is of European descent), interesting robot descriptions, some mystery.
Weaknesses: Bad cover. Celia is ten, but this makes the book look very young and it's not. Also, the voice feels inauthentic and a bit didactic. This is something I don't usually notice, but Celia sounded more like a stressed 35 year old mother than a ten year old, and the books that she is reading are an odd assortment (The Long Winter and The Two Towers?) Students might not notice this, but it distracted me.