Buddy the Drone
by Ronald St. George-Smith
Westwood Books Publishing

"There was a gentle draught of wind which was allowing him to relish the flight, but Buddy recognised the seriousness of his mission.”"

From the first pages, the author establishes a cheerful and optimistic tone, both in his language and color palette. Ideal for students who are progressing from picture books to chapter books, the piece has been carefully crafted to give readers a unique experience while embedding myriad learning opportunities throughout the book. Above all else, young readers will be drawn to the relatability of the main character and the troubles she faces throughout her school day.

Matilda appears to be just another student ready to learn, but when Miss Fish calls upon her to answer a question, she is unable to respond, prompting a trip to the sickbay. Knowing that she generally must eat more often, her peers point out that Matilda has forgotten her lunch. At a deeper level, this level of care and compassion for one’s peers is not always existent, yet it is extremely important for younger generations to understand the importance of collaboration and looking out for others.

Matilda’s diagnosis in the sickbay of television-itis paves the way for Buddy, an exuberant, green drone, to come to her rescue. Needing an exclusive and hard-to-access cure that only Grandma Malone—who lives in a difficult-to-reach area—has, Buddy the Drone embarks on a journey that simultaneously lets him embrace a piece of nature and be instrumental in making a meaningful difference. While the story is definitely heartwarming and makes one feel good, the author also demonstrates the immense power of technology to improve accessibility and bridge the gaps that exist currently and will inevitably continue to exist. Specifically, with the ability of drones to enter remote areas, the world is connected at an unprecedented level. In a world such as this, there should be no one who is out of reach.

As effective as the prose in the book is, the illustrations by Ed Doyle add another dimension, catering to all types of learners and providing a resplendent experience for the young mind. Through the artwork, the book is able to evoke a range of emotions, from hope and excitement to even humor and awe. For instance, the illustration of the jellyfish swimming backward at the beginning seems to hold the focus of the entire classroom. Even the blue from the picture of Matilda resting on her hospital bed in the sickbay exudes a sense of warmth, comfort, and security, whereas typically, hospitals are connected to dark and dreary colors.

Imagery is often the key to churning the imagination. These illustrations are a breeding ground for the imagination, activating readers’ sensory details and giving students an enjoyable and entertaining way to learn about the role of technology in today’s society. In fact, many of the images give off a comic book or cartoon feel to resonate even more with younger audiences who are gaining their bearings with the written word. Ultimately, the author’s work is one that is geared not only toward young readers growing into their vocabulary but also adults for bedtime reading to their kids. In short, this heartwarming story demonstrates the power of technology and the impact of doing good deeds.

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