Unplugged Touts the Benefits of Life Off Network

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Unplugged by Steve Antony

Blip is a happy little robot/console that lives daily plugged into her computer. But when a blackout causes her to trip and unplug (and fall-and-roll a distance longer than any meatball did from on top of spaghetti), she finds herself out of doors, in the sunlight, and learning new things.

Well, basically -- as per the text of the book -- she's doing pretty much all the same things she did on her computer. But she's doing them "for real" and she's having more fun doing so. So much so that, when she ultimately returns home to reconnect to her old life, she finds that she prefers the way things are when she's "unplugged."

If you're thinking that Steve Antony is making a luddite case against technology, the story doesn't bear that out. Blip still loves being plugged into her computer at the end of the story, but her world is expanded and richer now because she has allowed for the possibility of other options -- great options, in her opinion.

Like most children's picture books, UNPLUGGED is a quick and easy read. Antony conveys the vibrancy of an unplugged life by representing all of Blip's time with her computer in dismal gray tone and 16-bit graphics (Blip apparently has a computer from 1991 and a less-than-VGA monitor), while the outdoors is full of greens and blues, and the characters with whom Blip interacts (a rabbit and a fawn -- Blip seems to have stumbled onto the set of BAMBI) are joyous and playful and eager to make friends. Definitely worth a pick-up for those with kids who seem hard-wired into their video games.

(Irony alert: This book is also available on Kindle.)

4.0 / 5.0