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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Boy + Bot, written by Ame Dyckman and illustrated by Dan Yaccarino. Alfred A. Knopf, Random House. 2012. $18.99 ages 2 and up

"But as they rolled down the hill, a rock bumped the robot's power switch and the robot turned off. "What's wrong?" the boy asked. The robot did not answer. "Are you sick?" the boy asked. The robot still did not answer. "I must help him," the boy said. He took the robot home. The boy fed him applesauce. He read the robot a story."

I love perfect stories like this for sharing with our youngest  readers. They give little ones a real purpose for learning to read and stories that beg to be read time and time again.

This book by debut author Ame Dyckman features a small boy and a meeting he has with a robot. They are immediate friends, and find it easy to have fun together. When the robot's power switch is accidentally turned off, the boy senses that there is a problem and decides that his new friend must be sick. So, he takes him home, tucks him in and expects that a good night's sleep is the cure.

A late night visit from his parents and a meeting with the back of the door that they peek through turns Bot's power back on. Bot, not understanding the concept of sleep, thinks there must be something wrong with his new friend. Total confusion from both sides of the new alliance. Bot takes Boy home to see if he can fix him up. Where Boy tries applesauce and a story, Bot tries clean oil and an instruction manual. Perhaps a battery?

Dan Yaccarino's masterful gouache illustrations add the perfect touch to this story of valued  friendship. He uses bold colors, constantly changing page design and a couple of appealing characters to capture audience interest. Humor and charm are at the core of the drawings, and readers are left to wonder if there might be another story in the future for the new pals. They have much in common, and that is shown in the final three pages of shared activity.

Would I like to meet them again at some future time? Affirmative!!!

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