Saturday, October 17, 2020

Review - Betty Builds It

Betty Builds It

by Julie Hampton
Date: 2019
Publisher: West Margin Press
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: library

Combining humor and art with STEM subjects of science, technology, and math, Betty Builds It explores a burgeoning friendship between a genius engineering robot girl and her sweet younger brother who just wants to support his sister.

Betty could build just about anything. Whatever she needs, she can make it for herself. But with a screen as her parental unit and her baby brother Toby who can't do much, Betty longs for a friend--so she builds one! While Toby struggles to get his sister's attention, Betty continues to build and build, until finally she realizes what she was looking for was beside her the whole time.

Betty Builds It is a sweet family story of the new friendship between siblings, and also celebrates and promotes women and girls in science.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

Betty Builds It reminds me of another robot book I read recently, David Wiesner's Robobaby. In both cases, a younger robot saves the day by offering some much-needed tech suggestions.

To be frank, I don't like either book. Robots can be done well, but the ones in these two books feel particularly soulless. The colour palette in Betty Builds It, mostly oranges and browns, feels somewhat... well, rusty. I guess that makes sense, but the illustrations also seem a bit lifeless because of it.

While the idea of a friend who can make toast whenever you want some is kind of amusing (although, I don't know why a robot would want toast), the rest of the story is predictable and kind of boring. I've read this story before. And I'm still not impressed.

Premise: 2/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 2/5
Originality: 2/5

Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall: 2.17 out of 5

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