McBeth’s author/illustrator debut is an unlikely love story.
Robot’s routine day—unplug, eat a slice of bread, leave when its wristwatch beeps—is interrupted when it sees her on Electric Avenue (yes, really). While readers aren’t privy to her identity until the end, they do get clues: She’s shiny, their connection is “electric,” and their meeting spot seems to be a store window. Meanwhile, bowtie-and–business-suit–clad Robot’s life is changed forever. It has hearts for pupils, it doesn’t watch where it’s going, it sniffs flowers and jumps in puddles (not recommended for robots), its “hydraulic limbs felt weak.” It spends an evening making her some flowers out of old metal parts, but she’s gone from their meeting place. Its robotic systems fail to detect her anywhere (though readers will laugh at the language used to describe this: “scanning…negative”). But then it gets an idea and runs back to the store, this time going inside, where it finds its own true love. Sure, she doesn’t say a word and people give them strange looks, but Robot doesn’t seem to care. “We have so much in common. We’re both shy. We’re both shiny. // We both love toast.” The black, white, gray, pink, and red artwork is angular and stylized, suiting the high-tech subject matter, and McBeth has found a way to give a metal robot a heart and feelings through body language and facial expressions.
A love story that’s anything but robotic. (Picture book. 4-8)