Don’t worry, no flying roadkill today. This time, I’m sharing Doug Unplugged, the story of a sweet little robot, for it’s theme.
Title: Doug Unplugged
Author & Illustrator: Dan Yaccarino
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf, 2013
Every morning, Doug’s parents plug him in so that he can fill up with knowledge.
“Today you will be learning all about the city,” said his mom.
“Happy downloading,” said his dad.
Doug learns about the buildings, the transportation, and the population – both of people and pigeons. But when a real live pigeon lands on the windowsill, Doug discovers that there might be more to the city than facts and figures.
Doug ventures out to experience the sights, the sounds, the smells, and the feelings of the city. He even makes a new (human) friend, who teaches him how to play.
When the friend can’t find his family, Doug helps. He watches the boy hug his parents as he reunites with them, and then realizes how excited he is to return to his own parents, tell them all about what he learned in the city, and give them a hug.
This book is short and simple, and yet, it’s teeming with themes. It encourages adventure. It shows the give-and-take of friendship as Doug’s new friend teaches him how to play, and then Doug helps him find his parents. And it ends on the theme of familial love and how important it is to show your family how much you care about them.
It’s also a story about embracing experiential learning. You know how much I love books, and Doug’s downloaded knowledge was what made him curious to learn more about the world in the first place. But as schools become more and more test-driven, Doug Unplugged is a great reminder that experiencing life is the best way to learn about the world.
Now, go plug yourself into some of the other great book reviews in the Picture Books 14:14 Challenge, and then go to the library and experience the stories yourself! And maybe listen to the sounds of buses, sniff the nearly-spring air, and hug someone you love along the way…