This month sees the release of The Little Wooden Robot and the Log Princess, the first children’s picture book from acclaimed artist Tom Gauld. Published by Neal Porter Books, an imprint of Holiday House, the picture book follows the titular wooden robot as he journeys to find and rescue his sister, the Log Princess. Today The Beat has an exclusive preview that introduces the characters and the world of the book.

Here’s how the publisher describes The Little Wooden Robot and the Log Princess:

For years, the king and queen tried desperately to have a baby. Their wish was twice granted when an engineer and a witch gave them a little wooden robot and an enchanted log princess. There’s just one catch, every night when the log princess sleeps, she transforms back into an ordinary log. She can only be woken with the magic words “Awake, little log, awake.”

The two are inseparable until one day when the sleeping log princess is accidentally carted off to parts unknown. Now it’s up to her devoted brother to find her and return her safely to the kingdom. They need to take turns to get each other home, and on the way, they face a host of adventures involving the Queen of Mushrooms, a magic pudding, a baby in a rosebush, and an old lady in a bottle.

Tom Gauld is a prolific cartoonist whose work has appeared in The New YorkerThe Guardian, and The New York Times, among other places. The Scottish cartoonist has published multiple graphic novels with Drawn & Quarterly, including MooncopGoliath, and several collections of his comic strips from The Guardian and New Science Magazine. One of those, Baking with Kafka, netted Gauld an Eisner Award in 2018 for Best Humor Publication.

Describing Little Wooden Robot, Gauld told Dean Porter Books a little about from where his inspirations for the book came:

“I was trying to make a book inspired by three different sets of books: The books that I remember enjoying as a child, the books that I watched my daughters enjoying, and the books I enjoy now as an adult. I wanted the book to have its own quirky feeling but also to function like a classic bedtime story.”

Check out the preview pages for the forthcoming picture book below. The Little Wooden Robot and the Log Princess is due in stores on Tuesday, August 24th.

Spreads from The Little Wooden Robot and the Log Princess: Courtesy of Holiday House Publishing, Inc. – Text copyright and illustration copyright © 2021 by Tom Gauld