Deny devices, turn off, tune out. That’s the unsubtle message in this picture book.
It’s raining. Indoors, Dot and her bestie, Hal, are playing a video game. Dad’s at his computer; Mom’s at her circuit board. Suddenly, the power goes out. Mom remembers it’s the National Day of Unplugging, announcing this means using “Nothing that runs on anything but our good old imaginations.” When the family descends to the basement searching for something to do, Scratch the dog finds a spinner game. Each of its five segments bears a simple image representing a task a player must perform when the arrow they spin lands on it. Creative play ensues, and Dot concludes that “Unplugging is fun!” The story will work equally well as a lapsit or a read-aloud to a group. It’s OK the exhortation’s obvious; kids will get that there’s life beyond the plugged-in kind. The colorful, cartoon illustrations are flat, but faces are expressive (even the dog’s). Dot, with strangely slate-gray hair, is garbed in yellow boots and a pink, polka-dot dress. She and her mom have pale pink skin; Dad’s skin is light tan; Hal is brown-skinned. The final page informs readers that the National Day of Unplugging is the second Friday in March and lists 50 “unplugged” activities. Readers/listeners should be encouraged to suggest and engage in other device-free pursuits.
Yank those plugs, everyone. Connect with family and friends instead. (Picture book. 4-6)