These early readers have a young Hispanic boy, Rico, and his pal, Robot, engage in high-interest activities (pirates, dinosaurs, snow play, go karts, prize game). Robot is a special teacher-friend (presumeably, to initiate friendly computer reading, as in Super Why TV show), but his teacherly role cancels conflict, plot and character development. There is no give and take: Robot does the reading in the museum, so Rico looks for the matching situation, and so on.
Soft pastel panels in planes dominate this computerized art. Frequently, the curvy, ornate robot dons clothes to fit the story, which makes him even harder to discriminate from the setting and background panels. Dino Hunt has a stronger plot rhythm and flow than Pirate Map, as they find items in the museum together which match the word list, and a satisfying ending as Rico decides to eat Dino-Mac at the museum café. Early Readers need to be strong in words, plot and pictures to satisfy the effort. These books are marginal.
Editor's Note: Early Readers—Stone Arch Readers, Level 2: each page has one sentence of text.
Recommended by: Linda Jeffries-Summers, Librarian, Maryland USA