A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws. –The Three Laws of Robotics by Isaac Asimov
So, I’m a bit of a sci-fi buff. Nothing too intense, mind you…I don’t have any episodes of Star Trek memorized, nor do I speak Klingon. Nevertheless, I definitely appreciated the tales weaved by Carl Sagan, Charles Sheffield and Nancy Kress.
Isaac Asimov’s buddy-story novels on robots were some personal favorites. Now, there’s a new book by Ame Dyckman that pays homage to its robot-inventing predecessors.
“Boy + Bot” is the perfect introduction to the basic sci-fi concepts of robotics, and it provides kids an imaginative look at the “otherness” inherent in those deus ex machina interactions, but in a sweet, kid-friendly way.
If you can imagine a scenario wherein a curious little boy and a curious little robot happen upon each other without clear concepts of what the other being is, well, you’ll wind up with the tale of “Boy + Bot.” As with the inevitable faux pas that occur when experiencing any new culture, Boy and Bot, hit a few snags when they try to help each other out.
When Bot’s off switch is accidentally tripped, Boy, mistakenly thinking he is sick, tries to feed him applesauce. Likewise, Bot tries to oil the boy after he falls asleep. It honestly had me chuckling over Dyckman’s quirky take on first aid for robots.
It’s clever stuff and it’ll give kids a reassuring message: even if you don’t know new friends or their culture very well, as long as you are trying to be a good friend, it’ll all work itself out.
Cleverly illustrated by award winning artist Dan Yaccarino, the artwork of “Boy + Bot” is a retro-style peek at robot/kid interactions. Its simple storyboard style illustrations bring the story home for kids, and are sure to make them smile.
Ultimately, should you order a copy of Dyckman’s newly penned book? As Boy would say, “Affirmative.”