Review: Boy + Bot by Ame Dyckman
Boy + Bot
By Ame Dyckman
Illustrated by Dan Yaccarino
Alfred A. Knopf (Random House)
Oh, unlikely friendships – where would children’s literature (scratch that – any kind of literature) be without ye? Contrasting personalities always add richness to the story. Ame Dyckman takes this idea of opposites to an extreme with the delightful Boy + Bot. An unlikely friendship that definitely works.
The story begins simply:
A boy was collecting pinecones in his wagon when he met a robot.
The improbable pair quickly become friends, playing in the woods until Bot’s power is accidentally switched off. The boy, unsure of what happened, brings Bot home to revive him. No luck. When Bot eventually powers up again and finds the boy sleeping, the roles are reversed, and Bot does his best to “fix” his friend.
The book has a beautiful sense of symmetry that brings the welcome picture book element of repetition to the party without beating the reader over the head with it. Boy and Bot begin the book by playing, then the same situation is played out two times (with roles reversed), and the pair end the book playing yet again. The plot structure just feels right.
Dan Yaccarino mixes it up with his sunny gouache artwork – sometimes going for the full page illustration, other times breaking the story down into smaller panels. He has a knack for creating compositions that are simple and childlike yet can skillfully carry a story.
An efficient, effective, and entertaining tale of friendship that’s bound to be a crowd-pleaser.
Review copy from the publisher.
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About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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