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Reviewed by Rosie Malezer for Readers' Favorite
Put Away Your Phone! is a children’s book written by Tracy Bryan and illustrated by David Barrow. Emma is not a fan of smartphones. It doesn’t matter where she goes or what she is doing, it seems to Emma that adults always have their noses in their phones instead of paying attention to Emma or the world around them. When her family goes on an outing to the zoo, Emma again notices that all of the grown-ups are looking at their phones instead of where they are walking. She decides that instead of getting frustrated and angry about it, she will just count the number of people who are looking at their phones. After a while, Emma starts telling each person to put away their phone. She decides that smartphones are really dumbphones because people seem to spend all their time paying attention to their phones. When Emma gets lost at the zoo, she then tries to find somebody who is not using their phone so she can ask for help to find her parents. It takes some time, but finally she finds a member of staff to help her and soon her parents arrive. Emma believes that phones should be used in case of an emergency instead of using them to live your whole life.
Bravo! It is wonderful to read a book that relays a message which so many people want to scream and shout about. These days, it is impossible to walk down the street safely any more without worrying that somebody who is looking at their phone might walk into you, ride their bike into you, or even hit you with their car because of their smartphone! Tracy Bryan’s imagination in using a child’s frustrations to vent to the world is a genius method of getting that message across. Smartphones seem to have taken over people’s lives, replacing their computers, books, internet providers, cameras and more. I support Emma’s plight in changing their name to dumbphones. In the event of an emergency, it is near impossible to grab somebody’s attention when they are fully absorbed in what is going on inside their phone. I very much enjoyed Put Away Your Phone! and feel that it should not only be read by younger readers, but also by everybody who owns a tablet or smartphone, in the hopes that it might remind them that there is a world outside their phone that misses them.