Three’s a crowd in Bell’s follow-up to Rabbit & Robot: The Sleepover (2012) when Rabbit gets jealous of Robot’s new amphibian pal, Ribbit.
In fact, a range of emotions plays out between Rabbit and Ribbit over the course of the four short chapters. Stuck in the middle of the triad, Robot uses his Emotion Decoder to track his friends’ feelings, but when an all-out conflict ensues he becomes overloaded and collapses. Ultimately, this provokes Rabbit and Ribbit to set their differences aside and work together to revive him. Words and pictures provide ample humor throughout the story, with details that are sure to provoke laughter, such as Robot’s addition of flies to movie popcorn in order to accommodate Ribbit’s tastes. There’s also wordplay fun (including Rabbit’s extrication of the word “gross” from Robot’s repeated use of the word “engrossed”) and some pretty meaty vocabulary. While context cues in the text and in the digital cartoon illustrations help with the latter, the text may prove a bit challenging for emergent readers who haven’t achieved fluency in their skills, but humor and story will be good motivators for perseverance.
Engrossing! (Early reader. 7-9)