FICTION

Betty Builds It

West Margin. Sept. 2019. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781513262321.
COPY ISBN
K-Gr 2–Betty the robot is incredibly talented—she can jump, talk, and, most important, build. Given her abilities, she decides to build a friend that’s more like her, much to the dismay of her annoying little brother. But her new friend isn’t working out quite as expected, so Betty must keep tinkering away to create the perfect companion. The focus on engineering and troubleshooting could make this a great addition to a STEAM-powered storytime, and its traditional ending about learning to get along with your siblings makes the book well rounded. Illustrations are solid; character design is not overly cute or cartoonish, giving the work a pseudo-realistic look. The neutral palette and backgrounds also help ground the piece and give it a somewhat lifelike feel, which for some may shift the tone and make it less enjoyable. On the flip side, readers will like watching Betty use everyday materials and tools, like skateboard wheels and speaker components, to alter her friend to her new specifications, showing the everyday applications of building and inventing.
VERDICT A solid STEAM-inspired addition.

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