Reviews

A mechanical-avian friendship is an endearing one.

When a robot is tossed into the garbage, he finds himself in a strange new environment in the outside world. Birds perch on him, and Little Bot greets them. Never having been greeted by a robot before, the birds fly off, except for one named Sparrow. She is observant and sees that Little Bot needs help figuring out nature, plants, and animals. And a good guide she is, warning him to avoid bees that sting and bears that are big. Little Bot is also a good observer and learner. When he asks his bird friend about sleeping and dreaming, Little Bot decides that dreams are “best left for the birds.” Unfortunately for their friendship, the seasons are changing and winter is coming; Sparrow will fly away and leave Little Bot alone. He is pensive, but he has learned how to do something new to him that is wonderful and that will delight readers. Parker tells his story with humor and tenderness, while his digital illustrations warmly portray a small mechanical object and even smaller bird in the forest. The contrast in size between Little Bot and his new world is never scary but rather dreamy and poetic. Softly hued colors follow seasonal changes beautifully.

Dreaming keeps memories alive for a very special robot in this sweet, quiet tale. (Picture book. 4-6)


 LITTLE BOT AND SPARROW

“One day Little Bot wasn’t needed anymore. He was thrown out with the garbage.” That’s all Parker (The Little Snowplow) has to say about his droid’s backstory as he shows Little Bot tumbling through the air and landing unceremoniously on Earth, suggesting extraterrestrial origins. A bird named Sparrow spots the robot, whose face is an oversize monitor with doll-like features, and decides he “needed to be taken under her wing”; she schools him in the joys and pitfalls of life on Earth (Little Bot learns the hard way that “robots shouldn’t fly”). Parker chronicles the relationship between quirky master and student with velvety textures and idyllic settings that make the incongruous robot even more adorable. Then winter comes and Sparrow must leave. Little Bot doesn’t try to stop her or extract any promises of returning or lasting friendship; their time together has been enough. It’s a moment of profundity and emotional ambiguity that may surprise and even sadden readers, but the discussions this story will spark should prove as rewarding as the happiest of endings. Ages 3–6. Agent: Judith Hansen, Hansen Literary. (Sept.)


 LITTLE BOT AND SPARROW

"No longer needed on his home spaceship, Little Bot is thrown out with the trash. After he finds himself cast out in the wilderness, though, he’s lucky enough to meet Sparrow, who takes an interest in the mechanical stranger. The little bird “led him to the forest, introduced him to her friends.” The two become inseparable, until winter arrives and it is time for the sparrow to fly away. Parker’s gorgeous art captures the beauty of spring and the melancholy of winter, and he’s able to evoke a wealth of feeling in his miniature subjects. A small creature taking a much larger outsider under her wing: readers might be reminded of Charlotte’s Web, and this book is similarly destined to lead to tears. Parker makes no hints that Sparrow will ever return, and kids will be desperate to know if the friends will ever reunite. Up to parents to navigate that one!"


 LITTLE BOT AND SPARROW

“Little Bot and Sparrow” tells the story of a robot that is cast out and lands in a cold, strange world. Everything is new and unknown to Little Bot until Sparrow decides to teach him everything she knows about the world. But as winter approaches, Sparrow knows her time with Little Bot is quickly coming to a close, and together they “learn what it means to be forever friends,” according to the book’s summary."


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