Love, Z by Jessie Sima, NY, Simon & Schuster, $23.99
By now readers may have gathered that I am very fond of robot stories.
In the picture book Love, Z a young robot looking for adventure finds treasure in the form of a bottle containing a message.
Z notes that the message is mostly indecipherable but he can read two of the words ... “Love Beatrice.”
Intrigued, Z takes the bottle and message home and asks his family, “What is love?”
His family is flummoxed and are eventually forced to respond with, “Does not compute” after the rituals of bedside stories and kisses are finished.
Z really wants to know the answer and goes on a quest.
Many unsatisfactory answers later, he begins to think that “love” is something a robot just can’t compute.
Then he finds Beatrice and is sure she will be able to explain her words.
However, Beatrice is also flummoxed and eventually says that love is warm and cosy and safe and that Z will know it when he feels it.
But before he can power down for the night the anxious old rusty robots arrive unannounced and administer kisses, bedtime stories and hugs.
Z realizes that he feels warm and cozy and safe and that the feeling Beatrice described has a name.
Sima’s robot characters are charming and loveable.
Z is a brash little guy and his family clearly adores him.
In the double-page spread, which shows the adult robots streaming into Beatrice’s house, discerning readers might notice that individual letters on the chest of each robot spell out the word “family.”
Z finally has absolutely no problem computing and the family group sails happily home.
Lovely art and appealing characters make this picture book a winner.
Fran Ashdown was the children’s librarian at the Capilano branch of the North Vancouver District Public Library. Maddie reminds her of her very active daughters.