Today I read the Kirkus review of Rabbit and Robot. No star, like from Publishers Weekly. And—gasp—a wee bit critical. But pretty good nonetheless. Here it is:
Make way for another endearing, odd-couple pair of friends in beginning-reader land.
Rabbit takes a cue from forebear Toad and makes a list to plan his time with, not Frog, but Robot. According to his list, their sleepover includes plans to make pizza, watch television, play Go Fish and go to bed. Unlike Lobel’s heroes in Frog and Toad Together, these friends do not lose their list, but tension ensues when Robot tries to add additional items (games of Old Maid and Crazy Eights) to the list. Even when they follow through on making pizza, Robot wishes for unorthodox toppings (nuts, bolts and screws) and ends up finding them by dismantling Rabbit’s furniture. Rabbit is then reasonably worried about where they will eat their meal, but Robot has the good idea to spread a blanket on the floor and have a picnic. Similar scenarios ensue in subsequent chapters, with ample humor to augment the storytelling. The vocabulary, however, includes a few too many reaches for brand-new readers, and while the digital typeface used in parts of the text may evoke Robot’s voice, it may prove distracting to not-yet-fluent readers.
A good choice for those ready to launch into more advanced texts. (Early reader. 6-8)
Oh, no! Is Kirkus right? Will this book be too difficult for some readers? Will this book—double gasp—let them down? But before I could even get around to worryin’ and cryin’, this came in the mail:
Yeah! At least Awesome Fan Ryan digs Itty Bitty! And hopefully, some kids will dig Rabbit and Robot, too. Thanks for making me feel good, Ryan, and for reminding me of the best part about making books for kids.