Robots, friendship, music, uniqueness, and eye-catching art. This little thirty-two page book by Neil Clark, Rusty the Squeaky Robot, has everything you need to capture a child’s attention and imagination and to help it soar.
Rusty doesn’t like that he squeaks all the time. ALL the time. And his squeaking has him feeling down. But then his friend Belle comes along to say that everything is fine and he just needs a friend. Together they go off and they meet Honk, and then Twango, and finally Boom-bot, and together they made a unique music.
Each robot looks very different – which emphasizes the diversity. They are supportive of one another, even when one comes on a little strong. And they find that the sounds they make together are even better than the sounds they make by themselves, and they enjoy their uniqueness and their ability to play together.
It’s a very simple story with an appropriate underlying message that kids will pick up on.
But this is a picture book, and the art is as important as the story. Fortunately for ll the children for whom this book might be read, the art is glorious. It is bold, it is colorful, it is eye-catching. This is precisely the sort of book that children will want to thumb through on their own, just to see the pictures, and I can easily imagine my children, when at the appropriate age, asking for a little longer look at each page just because the beauty of it would inspire.
For a child, most likely listening to an adult read this, this is everything it needs to be to become a favorite, often-requested book.
I do have one small problem with this, though. The book is written in rhyme. Every children’s book writing workshop I ever went to (I’ve been to and spoken at a few of them), the first thing that they say is, “Unless you’re Dr. Seuss, don’t put your book in rhyme.” Even so, the rhyme itself didn’t bother me. But I tried to read this aloud, the way it would be read to most children, and I stumbled, more than once. The rhythm of the rhyme is awkward and it doesn’t flow the way a reader wants to make it, when reading out loud. This is not a read-it-to-yourself book. This is a book you read to your children, and unfortunately (because it’s so beautiful in every other way) it will often be difficult to read it aloud.
Looking for a good book? Rusty the squeaky Robot by Neil Clark is a beautiful children’s picture book with a simple, strong story with an underlying message, and gorgeous art, but reading it out loud will be just a little bit awkward.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.
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Rusty the Squeaky Robot
author: Neil Clark
artist: Neil Clark
publisher: words & pictures
hardcover, 32 pages