Boy + Bot, written by Ame Dyckman and illustrated by Dan Yaccarino Is a clever book. It has gotten a lot of hype from the Nerdy Book Club, which is where I often find out about great new picture books and books for my students. Without the NBC, Boy + Bot would surely have passed me by. Shame.
In this tale, Boy is out playing when he meets bot. They play, bot shuts down, and boy tries to cure him in very human ways. (Applesauce, Ms. Dyckman? Really?). Then the story twists and repeats itself in a clever way. Though the story line is simple, the structure is interesting and the illustrations capture the joy of childhood play.
It’s interesting to hear 6th-graders’ comments as I read aloud. Some, forgetting that the “intended” audience (I put that in quotes because we know that books intended for youngsters often have more meaning when the reader is older), express disbelief that the boy stumbled upon a robot–that the parents don’t seem to know what’s going on at first, then are OK with it–that the boy doesn’t wake up–that the inventor knows the Boy’s number and where he lives. Others enjoy the fun of the story and catch the clever way the pictures are laid out in repeating patterns as the story folds back on itself. One boy noticed the toy robot in Boy’s room as he fell asleep and surmised that the boy was just imagining the whole thing.
With social media, so many authors are accessible and open to communicating with their readers. I knew Ame was on Twitter (since I follow her), so I gave each class a chance to compile a tweet to her:
Pretty cool, right?
Here are a few more sites that have featured Ame, Dan, and BOY + BOT:
- Dan and Ame have a conversation on the Nerdy Book Club blog. (Hysterical)
- 10 Reasons you should read BOY + BOT, from Mr. Schu’s site.
- Colby’s experience with BOY + BOT and his son.
P.S.—(I also share picture books I get for my class with my daughters. I had just finished reading it to them and asked them to pose.)