Monday, January 28, 2013

Doug Unplugged

Booklist (January 1, 2013 (Vol. 109, No. 9))

Preschool-Grade 1. Yaccarino’s gentle humor, whimsy, and panache is on full display in this picture book celebrating the difference between virtual and real-life learning. Young Doug is a robot who is plugged in by his parents every morning so that he can absorb as many facts as possible. Happy downloading, his dad calls as he heads to work, leaving Doug to learn all about cities. What looks like it might be a tale of parental pressure on young students instead turns into a cheerful story of discovery. Doug has no sooner downloaded vital statistics about pigeons when he sees a live one on the windowsill. Bot follows bird, and the fun begins. Yaccarino’s illustrations are deceptively simple in their generous use of primary colors and bold lines; they invest the story with tangible vibrancy. The expression of sheer joy as Doug, all wide-mouthed enthusiasm, scatters a flock of pigeons or plays with a new friend is enough to convince any reader that unscripted learning is still the most satisfying way to plug into the world around us.

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