Tek

Patrick McDonnell. Little, Brown, $15.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-316-33805-9
McDonnell (Thank You and Goodnight) plays fast and loose with the historical record in this playful cautionary tale about the perils of technology obsession. Tek is a cave boy with a beard—“everything was kind of hairy back then.” Although his father hasn’t invented fire just yet, he has invented the Internet, and Tek stays “alone in his cave room, glued to his phone, his tablet, and his game box, all day, all night, all the time.” The book’s design and dimensions mimic that of an iPad, complete with signal bars, a home button, and a (rapidly depleting) battery life indicator. Tek’s online time leaves him ignorant of life outside; he makes up names for dinosaurs such as flying idontgiveadactyl, and misses the sledding and snowball fights of the Ice Age completely. Only a volcanic explosion shocks him out of his stupor. McDonnell’s ever-cute creatures deliver the story’s tech-addiction message with a grin, and clever references abound, from the fish that crawls up on land and evolves into a fanged cat to the buffering icon that accompanies Tek’s “reboot.” Ages 4–8. Agent: Henry Dunow, Dunow, Carlson & Lerner. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/08/2016
Release date: 10/04/2016
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