Mechanical Raybot enjoys a peaceful, orderly life in the junkyard—until the arrival of diminutive Weebot, who hardly ever powers down.
Echoing, no doubt, the experience of older sibs of the flesh-and-bone variety, Raybot’s initial delight at having a new playmate turns to dismay and exhaustion as Weebot—sounding like R2-D2 (“BEEP BOOP”) but looking rather like a microwave perched atop a unicycle—zooms about indefatigably spilling paint, popping a soccer ball, stranding a kite in a tree. “Raybot tries to teach him the rules and how to play nice, but Weebot sometimes ruins things.” Having finally succumbed to the understandable impulse to leave Weebot in a crate by the side of the road, though, Raybot discovers that things just aren’t the same…and so welcomes the return of the rubber-tired tyke (“WAY BOT!”) with open arms. Readers will have to have met Raybot’s bird and dog, respectively Puppy and Parrot, in Raybot (2016) in order to get the joke about their names, and it’s hard to see how one rusty car set amid broad, rolling fields of flowers and closely trimmed grass qualifies as a “junkyard.” Still, Watkins crafts his robots with expressive faces and postures to underscore the episode’s emotional currents.
A cozy cybernetic variation on a popular theme. (Picture book. 4-6)