A new toy robot brings new fun to a child accustomed to playing with his stuffed animals.
In this Belgian import, Ben, a white boy with blond curls, has four favorite stuffed animal friends, depicted as sentient beings who actively play with him. Their happy life together changes when Daddy (who isn’t pictured in the story) gifts Ben a talking toy robot named Tobor. The animals and Ben all seem apprehensive about the newcomer, who ends up monopolizing Ben’s attention and taking him away from his four stuffed animals and wearing him out with lots of new games and activities. Ultimately, this proves overwhelming to Ben, and he turns the robot’s power off and happily returns to his old friends. In a case of distance making the heart grow fonder, Ben ends up missing Tobor and decides to press its nose to turn it back on again. This time, Ben teaches Tobor new games and successfully includes his stuffed animal friends in their fun, too, creating a more enjoyable and balanced time for all. The cheery palette of the cartoon-style illustrations keeps the tone of the story light as Ben navigates his dynamic with his playmates. It’s refreshing to see a story that successfully incorporates technology into analog play rather than demonizing one or the other.
A new-toy story for readers to befriend. (Picture book. 3-5)