A young robot learns what love is.
Out playing, Z finds a message in a bottle, but all that’s legible is “Love, Beatrice.” Z asks the older robots what “love” is as they help the young one through the bedtime routine, but: “DOES NOT COMPUTE.” So Z sets off to find both Beatrice and the meaning of love. Journeying in a boat that’s captained by a cat, Z asks everyone they meet. But the crow’s, baker’s, and school children’s ideas of love don’t help Z understand. As night falls, the duo sail to an island. Who should live there but Beatrice, an old woman who thinks about her answer as she and Z bake cookies, play chess, and dance: “It’s warm. And cozy. And safe. You’ll know it when you feel it.” Just as Z is ready to power down, the worried older robots arrive. And as they read a story, leave a light, and give a good-night kiss, Z finally has a word to go with the feeling that’s been there all along. Sima’s robots are gray 3-D shapes with oval glowing eyes, elongated or nonexistent noses, and line mouths. Their emotional expressions are limited to what their mouths and articulated arms are doing. The spring-bright colors surrounding the metal robots keep the book from feeling too heavy. Beatrice presents white; the other humans are notably diverse, including one child who uses a wheelchair.
A good springboard for kids and their caregivers to talk about what love means to them. (Picture book. 4-8)