My Friend Robot – written by Sunny Scribens, illustrated by Hui Skipp

       My Friend Robot – written by Sunny Scribens, illustrated by Hui Skipp, sung by Norma Jean Wright, Barefoot Books, 9781782853220, 2017

Format: Picture Book

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

Genre:  Picture Book (STEM)

What did you like about the book?  This cute and educational STEM book begins on the title page with one girl constructing a DIY robot.  A group of beautifully diverse neighborhood children then join the girl and her new creation in building a tree house with each step set to the tune of “London Bridge is Falling Down.”

The illustrations and text present new tools and their uses with cooperation and safety playing a big part; each child plays a role in building while wearing goggles, hard hats, and a big smile!  The book also has its characters utilize compassion near the end as the children teach the robot how to calm a shy dog, momentarily reversing the roles and illustrating how everyone has something to learn.

Additional notes in the back of the book review simple machines and coding, even including a child-friendly game that demonstrates computer programming.

Anything you didn’t like about it? The song itself falls short in both composition and execution.  Wright’s voice and the electronic beat mix smoothly, but the additions on the end of each verse sound clunky both in a read-through and in the CD song.  The idea is very solid, but the tune selection does not fit.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Recommended for classrooms or storytimes with K-3 in connection with an activity about building or coding.  This would also be great for families seeking to get their pre-K kids into STEM.

Who should buy this book? Childrens’ library collections (public and school)

Where would you shelve it ? Picture Book Collection

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No.  You can certainly consider it for a storytime selection, however; this would be a good book to pair with free build time (LEGOs, blocks, etc.).

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Melissa McCleary, Pembroke Public Library, Pembroke, MA

Date of review: July 22, 2017

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