Ben Hatke describes his book Little Robot as, “My little love letter to summer and friendship and robots and makers.” Three years ago Hatke began a web comic with the robot and what it has become is a beautifully rendered, simply told story that can be enjoyed by all ages.
A small, poor girl who feels like an outsider adventures into the forest near her trailer home and comes upon a robot. They have an instant connection and enjoy playing and learning from each other. When the robot factory discovers the robot missing, they come in search of him and the real adventure ensues.
Hatke breaks from some graphic novel norms by creating a book without traditional frames. He also illustrates the book with both hand rendering and digital rendering which adds to the lush, yet homespun feel. Known for his wonderful book, Zita the Spacegirl, it is not surprising that Hatke has once again presented us with an adorable, smart, funny female character. Bonus points that she has dark skin, #weneeddiversebooks.
There are very words in the book, almost none in the first third and this can be used as a tool to help children learn the art of reading pictures. It’s also a great book to share with non or light readers because they can feel the accomplishment of “reading” and understanding a story that is so rewarding, it just might make them want to pick up another book.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Publication date: September 1, 2015
Page count: 144 p.
Publisher: First Second Books