Recommended for ages 4-8
This fun, retro story by Dan Yaccarino tells the story of a little robot boy who decides to “unplug” one day and explore the world. Little Doug is a robot boy whose parents plug him in every day so that he can learn while they head to work. One day, while learning about the city, Doug spies a pigeon at his window, and he’s fascinated. He unplugs himself and heads off on a day of exploration where he rides the train, scales a skyscraper, and makes a friend. After reuniting his friend with his parents, Doug decides to head home and tell his parents about his exciting day.
The story is sweet and packs a powerful message in our highly technological society. When most of our kids spend their days behind their iPads and computer screens, this simple message – unplug and learn by getting outside and doing – is a welcome sigh of relief. Packed with Yaccarino’s fun, adorable retro-futuristic artwork, Doug is a little boy on a big adventure that kids will enjoy living through vicariously. He may be a robot, but he’s easily distracted – there are many kids who can relate to the excitement of a pigeon landing on the windowsill at school or while doing homework at home. He spends a day exploring the city, yet manages to find a friend, and knows that he must go home at the end of the day. The art consists primarily of blues, greens and yellows, with other colors showing up to punch up the landscape. I read the digital version of this book, but encourage adult readers to use the physical storybook, which has smaller black font (it’s a great read-aloud book), usually at the bottom of the page or individual pictures so as not to detract from the artwork. There are whole spreads and chunked panels throughout the book, giving a fully-fleshed-out feeling to this story.
This would be a fun addition to a storytime on robots and would provide a more human perspective on a robot read-aloud. There are many robot printables and crafts online, and the author’s website offers information about his books, blog, social media, and speaking engagements.