Monday, September 2, 2019

Review - Doll-E 1.0

Doll-E 1.0
by Shanda McCloskey
Date: 2018
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 40
Format: e-book
Source: library

A STEM-friendly tale of a girl and the doll she upgrades to be her new friend, for fans of The Most Magnificent Thing and Rosie Revere, Engineer.

Charlotte's world is fully charged! With her dog at her side, she's always tinkering, coding, clicking, and downloading. She's got a knack for anything technological--especially gadgets that her parents don't know how to fix! Then, she receives a new toy that is quite a puzzle: a doll! What's she supposed to do with that? Once she discovers the doll's hidden battery pack, things start to get interesting...while her faithful canine sidekick wonders if he'll be overshadowed by the new and improved Doll-E 1.0! With a little ingenuity and an open mind, everyone can be friends in this endearing, modern tribute to the creative spirit of play.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

Okay, I'll admit that I was annoyed by the parents in this one. Charlotte is a tech genius, and she'd rather be building something than playing with dolls. But her parents, influenced by the news, think she might be "too techy", so they buy her a baby doll and try to shoehorn her into outdated gender stereotypes. (Nice.) To her credit, though, Charlotte is having none of it. She's not interested in playing with the doll... until she realizes it talks, and therefore has some kind of circuitry. Then she gets interested and makes plans to improve the doll's language database. But when her dog, Blutooth, gets jealous, Charlotte ends up having to make more improvements than she thought... leading to her spending even more time on her "techy" pursuits. Sorry, Mom and Dad; your plan kind of backfired.

The illustrations are really cute here. And I love the fact that Charlotte didn't give in to parental pressure. If I have one minor quibble, it's that the rebuilt doll would be Doll-E 2.0... right? In any case, it's a fun story that shows a little girl flourishing in her STEM interests and not getting caught up in society's gender stereotypes. (Her parents should pay more attention to her and less to the news!)

Quotable moment:

Premise: 4/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 4/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 4/5

Overall Rating: 3.83 out of 5 ladybugs

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