A little black boy and his drone get into quite a conundrum trying to retrieve a ball from a neighbor’s backyard.
It is love at first sight when Lucas first lays eyes on T-Bone the drone. Lucas does everything with his drone, but actually maneuvering the device proves challenging. In his determination to help T-Bone fly, Lucas prefers companionship with his electronic pal to playing whiffle ball with his friends. When a friend hits the whiffle ball and it bounces off of T-Bone over the fence into a neighbor’s yard, Lucas sees an opportunity to get the ball and win back his friends. Lucas decides to trespass into the neighbor’s yard to retrieve the ball, but there’s an unfriendly dog on the other side of the fence, and he gives up. Lucas decides to use his drone to help get the ball back, so his friends help build a contraption that will allow T-Bone to fly over the fence and lift the ball from the dog’s jaws. Cheerful illustrations glow with yellows and cool blues that evoke lightness and fun, but they are betrayed by darker themes of trespassing, severed human interaction, and electronic obsession. The friendly twist at the end does not mitigate the danger inherent in Lucas’ decision to trespass, one that in the real world could have dire consequences for a black boy like Lucas.
Despite the novelty of a character of color using technology, this book is one to skip.(Picture book. 4-8)