A lovely package of a picture book about siblings and sharing, birthdays and toys.
Ben loves to play with his toy robot, to the point where he seems oblivious to his little sister Alice’s love for him. He refuses to play with her and her doll, saying, “No dolls allowed. This is a robot game.” Forlorn but not dissuaded, Alice devises a plan that ends up getting Ben’s attention: She requests a new Roboy 2000 for her upcoming birthday. Jealous, Ben surreptitiously unwraps her gift and plays with it, which is a bad idea. He mistakenly breaks it before the guests arrive for her party and then quickly hides it away where no one can see it. Wracked with guilt, Ben eventually confesses his misdeed, and then he generously gives Alice his own robot to replace her broken one. While this arises as an idealistically easy and swift resolution, the expressive, cartoonish graphite, gouache and colored-pencil illustrations support the believability of the characters’ actions and reactions. Ben looks truly distraught when his father asks, “Where is the family’s gift?” and Alice is lovingly forgiving and eager to play with her brother when he makes amends.
Reading this book is a good idea. (Picture book. 4-6)