Despite initial anxiety, a robot experiences his first playdate with the kid next door.
Ultrabot and its professor live on Primrose Lane in a “little top-secret laboratory.” When the professor announces that Becky, the girl next door, will be coming for a playdate, Ultrabot’s response is “NEGATIVE.” Concerned Becky might be “mean” or break its toys, Ultrabot has difficulty sleeping. After Becky arrives, Ultrabot’s initial shyness evaporates when she offers to share her ball and they bond during a ball-bouncing contest. Becky shows Ultrabot how to draw a cat, they have sandwiches, and Ultrabot shares its toys with Becky. When Becky leaves, Ultrabot’s eager for their next playdate! Precise, detailed, linear pen-and-ink illustrations washed with pale watercolor and finished in Photoshop add a hilarious dimension to this seemingly normal, uneventful playdate. The visual incongruity between Ultrabot’s enormous, hangar-size lab with sliding roof panel and observatory next to Becky’s modest Cape rouses instant curiosity. The disparity between Ultrabot, a giant, red robot who plays with real planes and jeeps, and diminutive Becky, a little white girl with a ball, couldn’t be greater. Very clever use of varying viewpoints intensifies their dramatic differences while marvelous visual details reinforce their similarities as they play together like any kids.
A delightful, picture-perfect playdate. (Picture book. 4-7)