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Reviewed by Jon Michael Miller for Readers' Favorite
The Day the Screens Stood Still written by R.L. Ullman and illustrated fabulously by Buhmi Loupito is a book all middle grade kids should read—and parents too. With all the blessings home computing has brought us, some bad things have come along. Like taking us away from the world and the people around us. This splendid picture book brings the point home. Sammy, a bright little boy, is fixated on the screen of his laptop, streaming cat videos (he has a dog named Howie but prefers looking at cats), playing games, and taking selfies—he’s really a cute kid and the selfies are great. Then, strangely, the screen goes off, not only for him but for his parents. But only for them, not their neighbors.
Then they freak out (like we all do when it happens to us). R.L. Ullman suggests the sadness of our screen dependence by showing the advantages of off-screen time in bringing us together with our natural surroundings, with our families and friends, and with people in need. It’s a well-taught lesson. Bhumi Loupito’s drawings are superbly eye-catching, especially Sammy’s many selfies. My favorite is Howie the dog’s hideout at the end. There are words that will stretch kids’ vocabulary too: permanent, freak-out, twitched, whiz, notice, epic, realized, and unexpected. But the best part is the message that the unexpected turns in life can bring new things into our awareness and that much enjoyment in life happens in places other than the internet. The Day the Screens Stood Still by R. L. Ullman and Buhmi Loupito teaches lessons not only kids but many adults should learn.