A boy reluctantly joins his friends outside for some competitive sports when his fascination with video games is unexpectedly interrupted after his device stops functioning.
Unfazed by invitations from friends to play outside, this slightly heavyset, glassy-eyed gamer is consumed with desire to reach each new level as he scores more and more points, munching candy and snack foods as he does. Only when the game player breaks can David even consider listening to his companions and go outside. He finally agrees to learn how to skateboard, play basketball and ride a dirt bike, taking the healthy foods his friends offer when he realizes he’s left his junk food at home. The importance of outdoor play that encourages physical movement with a dose of socialization comes through clearly. It is told through a first-person bilingual narrative complemented by clean, sleek digital-style cartoon art. As the boy’s rounded, sedentary look slims to a leaner, more engaged physique, readers see the value of exercise. David understands this improvement through the lens of a video game: At first, he’s on “Level 1 of skateboarding,” but pretty soon he moves up to Level 12.
This agreeably didactic tale clearly makes the point; it might be most useful as an introductive resource for classroom discussion followed by active participation. (Picture book. 6-9)