May 9, 2011

Zoe and Robot: Let's Pretend

Balloon Toons: Zoe and Robot, Let's Pretend

Zoe and Robot, Let's Pretend by Ryan Sias
Illustrated by Ryan Sias

     Zoe wants to play with her Robot but there's a problem. As advanced as her robot is, there's one thing he lacks, imagination. No matter how hard he tries, Robot cannot pretend. Zoe wants him to imagine they're climbing Mt.Pillow, but all Robot sees are regular pillows. She wants him to pretend to feel the wind up in the mountains, but he knows it's just the fan. Eventually, Zoe finds a fun way of tricking him into truly believing he's climbing a mountain. But the highlight comes later when Robot describes a pillow as a fluffy cloud. That's when Robot celebrates, because now that he can pretend he feels like he can do anything.
     Zoe and Robot, Let's Pretend is presented in comic book form. The illustrations are colorful and offer plenty of picture clues for emergent readers. In my experience, this type of format is a great way of enticing reluctant readers to grab a book as well as to engage emergent readers. As per the topic of the story, I loved the idea of the human trying to teach the Robot how to pretend. We always think of having the ability to feel as the number one thing that differentiates us from artificial intelligence. But I now vote for imagination and the ability to pretend as the number one difference between us and Robot.

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