A turtle and an ostrich learn to accommodate each other’s ideas while working on a project in this picture book.
When turtle Howie fails to find a partner in the after-school robot club, he pretends it doesn’t bother him. But suddenly in pops an ostrich student, Lincoln, who has just moved from East Africa. The teacher pairs them together, and the two soon realize that while they both know a lot about robots, they have very different concepts about what one should look like. “That’s wonky!” becomes a refrain as the pair shows new and different—and bizarre—ideas. Once they put their heads together to decide on the robot’s purpose, they come up with a perfect design. When the teacher says it’s a little wonky, Howie explains to Lincoln that the word might mean weird, but it also signifies wonderful. The partners decide that they are wonky friends. In her offbeat and clever story, Pattison (Clang, 2017) uses approachable vocabulary without ever dumbing down her characters’ ideas. Gold’s (Too Much TV Rots Your Brain, 2017) ink-and-watercolor illustrations have strong lines and sometimes-splotchy paint for a stylized effect that’s a bit wonky, making it a perfect fit.
With pages filled with animals and robots, this tale will certainly appeal to kids; the story of friendship conquering first-day-of-school jitters remains a bonus.