Friday, 30 March 2018

ReadItDaddy's First Picture Book of the Week - Week Ending 30th March 2018 - "Unplugged" by Steve Antony (Hodder Children's Books)

We're so pleased to have finally met Blip, a character after our own hearts and the star of this week's first Book of the Week...
Ah, the ever-present lure of technology, of being wired to the world, connected to others, often to do the most inane things like share cat pics, take photos of our food and share them on Instagram - or indeed write about children's books for a hungry book-loving audience.

Steve Antony turns his attention to the worrisome trend of screen time overtaking everything else in his book "Unplugged", recently arriving in paperback from Hodder.

Blip is the robotic star of the story. Blip loves nothing better than playing games and being online. Sitting in a dark world of greyscale hues, Blip visits imaginary worlds, sees amazing sights but all within the confines of a screen.

 But one day...

Yikes! A power cut, a trip, and suddenly Blip is on unfamiliar ground...
Yep that's right, Blip, plunged into darkness, trips over her wire and falls downstairs, spilling out of the front door of her home.

But outside she discovers an amazing colourful world, new friends, fresh air and a ton of amazing things to do that are far better than any computer game or virtual experience can offer.

When the power comes back on though, will Blip be able to stay unplugged?

What Steve does with his stories is amazing, taking a simple idea and running with it to produce something that doesn't 'wag the finger' as a moral rebuke, but shows other possibilities to kids who may be just like blip, totally in love with their screens, tablets and video games.

It's something nearly all parents have concerns about so it's a great book to read together. We really loved Steve's initial art style in this (if any of you old-skool gamers remember a Playstation game called Vib Ribbon, there are times where Steve's art is really reminiscent of that fantastic game).

All in all this is a brilliant departure from Steve's usual style, but one he pulls off with consummate ease.

C's best bit: Blip's trip! Ouch!

Daddy's favourite bit: Another perfect example of delivering a moral tale in a totally original and non-preachy fun way from Mr Antony. So glad to have finally 'met' this book, it's awesome!

"Unplugged" by Steve Antony is now available in Hardback, E-formats and Paperback, published by Hodder Children's Books (kindly supplied for review).