Two children have an adventure in a magical, computerlike world when they go looking for their missing dog in this debut picture-book collaboration by writer-and-artist team Daluz, Morton and Daluz.
Larah and Kury, siblings from two different ethnic backgrounds, fail to find their dog, Byte, during a game of hide-and-seek. Instead, they stumble upon a magical castle. With the help of a mouse named Click, the children guess the password to enter the stronghold and go on to encounter a number of strange characters and places: a bricklayer repairing a firewall; an ailing King CPU; the Hard Drive that serves as the castle library; and a doctor who has an anti-virus serum. When Larah and Kury discover that the omniscient king may have caught a nasty disease, they make it their mission to help him recover, because they believe that only he can tell them whether their dog is in the castle. The way the book draws similarities between the fantastic kingdom and the makeup of a computer are clever. The collage illustrations are colorful throughout, and some story elements are effective as computer analogies, such as the omniscient King CPU, who instructs the workers on what to do. Others, however, are less convincing, such as the mouse, a tool used on the outside of a computer, serving as a guide to its inner workings. The story might have flowed better if it dropped stronger hints about King CPU’s sickness before the children meet him. Although they do meet a bricklayer repairing a firewall, they’re never told why the wall needs to be repaired; if it were clearer that the computer kingdom had been attacked, the king’s illness, caused by an invading virus, could have better tied the story together. Instead, it serves only as the impetus for a mini-quest, and the children eventually complete their mission in spite of the king’s health. A glossary at the end explains computer terms for children who might not be familiar with them.
An intriguing, if not fully realized, story about children, pets and computers.