Little Bot and Sparrow

Jake Parker. Roaring Brook, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-62672-367-2
“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.)
Reviewed on: 06/13/2016
Release date: 09/27/2016
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