Can Babbit the rabbit cope with giving his phone, Joan, a break?
Anthropomorphic animals and animate cellphones populate this picture book, which opens with the protagonist, Babbit, observing a strike led by overworked phones. He realizes that his own phone, Joan, “was exhausted! She’d been taking pictures and sending texts for Babbit all day, every day.” Babbit decides to give Joan a break and goes about the day without her while she stays home and rests. His meanderings are filled with discovery since, without Joan there to capture his attention, he observes many things in the natural world that he’d never noticed before. Then he encounters a bird and a bear who are also without their phones (one’s battery ran out, and the other’s was lost). The trio enjoy one another’s company and work together to find their way back to the town without the aid (or interference) of their phones; clearly, they’re all better off because of the break from technology. At book’s end Babbit returns to a rested, happy Joan, and they commit to more alone time for each in the future. The cartoon-style illustrations depict animal characters with egg-shaped torsos and rubbery limbs wandering about a gently Technicolor world. They imply a far younger audience than seems appropriate for the message.
Swipe left on this one: It’s no keeper. (Picture book. 4-7)