I have been drawn to Boy and Bot, by Ame Dyckman, since it joined our collection in 2012. On the cover stand a boy and a bright red robot, illustrated in Dan Yaccarino’s characteristically colourful style. The story inside is charming, simple, and has the qualities I love in a good picture book: it is a wonderful read-aloud, and encourages kids to really get involved in the story. I finally had the opportunity to read it to two groups the other day, and they really enjoyed it (you can tell when a class of 25 kids just sits and listens with rapt attention).
Boy and Bot meet one day while boy is collection pine cones, and they are instant friends and find lots of games to play together. They are rolling down the hill when Bot’s power switch gets flipped. Suddenly, Bot does not work. Boy brings him home and cares for him as if he is a human, feeding him applesauce and reading him books. Boy falls asleep and Bot is switched back on, only to find that Boy is not working. Worried, Bot takes Boy home, gives him oil, and reads him an instruction manual. The simple story about friends taking care of each other (despite their differences) is one that will resonate with just about any audience, and the humour was not missed by mine.
Boy and Bot is also so much fun to read aloud. The dialogue is expressive and to be honest, anything that allows me to talk like a robot is an instant favourite. Amy Dyckman uses repetition in such a way that kids will get excited and involved in predicting what will happen next, and the groups I read it to got great satisfaction from recognizing how the two friends mirrored one another. I always love Dan Yaccarino’s distinctive illustrations, which appeal to kids of all ages.
This book had both my second and third grade audiences completely absorbed, but it would be the perfect book to read to kids 3 and up. If you’re looking for an adorable (and very worthy) story about friendship, give this one a try.