Wants vs. Needs vs. Robots

Nancy Paulsen/Penguin/. Mar. 2023. 32p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593530092.
K-Gr 3–Rex uses boldly colored robots with varying facial expressions (from happy to sad to flummoxed) to explain to children the difference between want and need. Does a robot actually need “fancy sunglasses” or “golden ukuleles?” What about batteries, arms, legs, and oil? Contrasting robots on each page use humor and easy-to-understand language to explain trading objects that are needed to survive versus those that are wanted to look “awesome.” As the story progresses, the robots also show what happens when you “don’t balance your wants and needs” correctly—chaos and missing body parts! Rex’s book is a unique and comic take on a relatable lesson for primary students and would make excellent supplemental material for elementary instructors looking to teach or reinforce the difference of necessity and convenience, or, in the vernacular here, wants and needs.
VERDICT The most valuable lesson in this entertaining picture book is about the importance of making good choices and helping others, a moral delivered painlessly and with loads of good humor.

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