I'm UK-based, and recall reading and loving a book series in the 1990s about:

  • a young male character, and to a lesser extent his family
  • who had a robot companion (who I think was referenced in the title)
  • who had access to a debit/credit card called a "Junior Credit ID"

There was definitely a futuristic vibe about them, too.

The books are long since gone from my parents' house, and no-one can remember the title or any character names, but apparently one of my homemade "Junior Credit ID" cards has survived.

All help gratefully received!

Edit to answer comment questions:

  • I’m not 100%, but I seem to remember reading at least two separate books, since I was excited when I found “the next one” at the library.
  • YA rather than pure children’s. I didn’t feel condescended to as an eleven/twelve year-old, and had more adult concepts - that’s probably why the Junior Credit ID still stands out in my memory.
  • It wasn’t a picture book. There may have been chapter illustrations, but I’m not certain. For some reason I think the cover illustration was quite cartoony in nature, and I think the robot might have been yellow/gold.
  • It’s occurred to me the robot may have had a human name, but as an acronym. Again, I’m not sure if that’s my memory playing tricks!
  • 1
    Children’s series or YA? Pictures or not, please?
    – Pam
    Commented Apr 14, 2018 at 15:30
  • 1
    And are you certain that it was an entire series, and not a single book? Do you have any idea how many books it might have?
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Apr 14, 2018 at 16:24

1 Answer 1


This is a longshot, because the book is at my parents' house currently, but my gut is telling me that this might match Marilyn Z. Wilkes's C.L.U.T.Z. books. I only read the first one, entitled C.L.U.T.Z., but it has a sequel, C.L.U.T.Z. and the Fizzion Formula, so it barely qualifies as a "series". The basic premise is that Rodney's family needs a housekeeping robot, but can't really afford a new one. An unemployed Combined Level Unit/Type Z (aka a C.L.U.T.Z.) robot shows up on their doorstep after having been abandoned by his prior owner.

What ensues, from my memory, is a comedy of errors due to Clutz being, well, a klutz. He's well meaning, but bumbling. I particularly remember a sequence where he fixes their holovision set by moving scoops of crystals around inside, but a subsequent attempt to fix a floating bed goes awry. Clutz gets thrown out, and Rodney follows with him. I don't specifically remember the credit card, but there's a tickle in the back of my head that Rodney takes the family one with him when he runs away.

Ultimately, Rodney winds up in some disastrous situation after his parents acquire one of the fancy "Butler" robots that are the new thing, and said robot lacks the empathy (or maybe just the programming) to help him, while Clutz does save him, resulting in Clutz becoming part of the family.

C.L.U.T.Z. book cover C.L.U.T.Z. and the Fizzion Formula book cover

The Internet Archive has a copy that can be borrowed, and your memory is correct about the "junior credit I.D.".

Excerpt with the junior credit ID

He went to the hall closet, took out his jacket, and stuffed it into the bag. Then he pulled a small plastoid rectangle out of his pocket and examined it. It was his junior credit I.D., which was issued to every U.F.N.A. child from six to twelve annums old. His had a fifty-credit spending limit, raised from forty on his last birthday. That wasn't much, but it would pay for a couple of days food and shelter if necessary. Rodney added it to his bag.

  • YES! Phenomenal work - this is it! Thank you so much! Commented Apr 14, 2018 at 16:42
  • ^_^ Glad to help. I read that one several times as a child. My second thought was the Norby books by Asimov, but I figured those were much better known.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Apr 14, 2018 at 16:43

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