In this unexpected take on screen addiction, an Indian import, an unnamed girl convinces her parents that they, too, can have fun away from their pods and pads.
On “most days,” Daddy can be found referring to recipes on his wireless device, and Mommy, on the couch, snacking and tapping on her laptop. But, when the Wi-Fi goes down, Mommy “howls” and Daddy “bellows.” They “whine” and “whimper.” “Mommy! Daddy! BEHAVE! It is NOT the end of the world,” says the ingenious protagonist, and she takes her parents out into the “big wide world out there”: They climb trees, play soccer, and buy hot chai from the street vendor. While the parents display a reluctance stereotypical to screen-focused children, the young protagonist mirrors parental responses, with “knit…brows” and firmness. Young readers will likely get the joke. When the family returns home, the Wi-Fi is still down, but now they “have other things to think about. Like the clouds and the breeze and the trees.” The identity of the second-person narrator is revealed at the end, which is yet another humorous turnabout. Ananth’s muted, posterlike illustrations are not India-specific (save, perhaps, for the tea stall), and they feature a multigenerational, middle-class brown family that might be found anywhere in the diaspora.
Unmistakably message-driven (“YOU know what’s good for them”) yet silly and light. (Picture book. 4-7)