Love, Z (Jessie Sima)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Love, Z by Jessie Sima!

Little robot Z is out exploring when he finds a bottle with a note inside. Most of the writing is illegible, but he can read the signature: “Love, Beatrice”. When his fellow robots tuck him in for the night, he asks what the meaning of the word “love” is, but the robots simply reply “DOES NOT COMPUTE”. Being the curious robot he is, Z sets off on a quest to find his answer, traveling on a boat with a stalwart captain (who is also a cat). Z meets new friends as he travels – a crow, a baker, some schoolchildren – who all attempt to explain love to him in their own ways, but Z doesn’t understand. At last, Z and the captain happen upon an island, a little house… and Beatrice herself inside. Z asks the woman who inspired his quest, and after some thought, she replies that love is warm, and cozy, and safe, but that one doesn’t really know it until they feel it. Z thinks about this, wondering if he’ll ever truly understand. But when some surprise visitors burst in, Z will find that he may know more about love than he ever realized.

Fantastic. This is a sweet fable with some memorable details, a great message, and an adorable main character. Showing that love comes in many forms and touches us in many ways, the art then takes time to illustrate this in beautiful, subtle ways: a father teaching his daughter to bake, two young women falling in love, all the little things (like puppies and garden gnomes) that bring us joy, and so on. It’s an exploration of what we love and how we love that has a tone of childlike innocence, and a perfect payoff (a clever visual Easter Egg, teased early on and paid off in the story’s climax, warmed my heart). Sims has a knack for touching and relatable tales, and this one was a joy. The length was great, JJ loved it, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

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