Boy & Bot by Ame Dyckman, illustrated by Dan Yaccarino
One day when out collecting pinecones in the forest, a boy meets a robot. The two of them play together and have a lot of fun. But then when rolling down a hill, the robot’s power button gets pressed and he turns off. The boy thinks the robot must be sick, so he takes the robot home and feeds him, reads him a book and puts him to bed. When the boy’s parents look in at him before going to bed, they press the switch on the robot. Now the robot notices the sleeping boy and thinks that he has malfunctioned. Bot takes the boy to his home, gives him oil, reads him an instruction manual and is just about to replace his battery, when the Inventor arrives. Soon all is straightened out and the two continue their grand friendship.
Dyckman’s story has a wonderful symmetry that works well. With the two friends and their misunderstandings of one another, the story mirrors itself in a delightful way. Both instances have their humor, as does the rest of the book. It is this wry sense of humor that carries the story forward and makes it a pleasure to read. The book is written in a straight-forward way, making it a great read aloud.
Yaccarino’s illustrations are very successful. They have a wonderful sort of fifties vibe to them, while at the same time being modern. The large robot is never frightening, thanks to his permanent smile and his care for the boy. Yaccarino plays with bright colors throughout the book, keeping his art simple and dynamic.
Robot fans will rejoice at this fresh new take on friendship and embracing differences. Appropriate for ages 4-6.
Reviewed from copy received from Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers.