The Children’s Book Review | December 16, 2019
Written and Illustrated by Lian Sommer
Age Range: 4+
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: AiPets.com (2019)
What to expect: Screen time
Do you want to help children to manage their screen time better and achieve a quality tech-meets-life balance? Cats vs. Ai Pets is a picture book set in a futuristic time in which screen time via robot is the main form of entertainment. Author-illustrator Lian Sommer has drawn from his own experiences and desire to create a story that encourages such a balance.
It’s the year 2087, and Anna lives with her genius pet robot, Ron. For most hours in the day, Anna is fully absorbed by the messages and information provided by Ron’s screen. When her parents surprise her with a pet cat for her birthday, there is no way the kitty can compete with the messages, games, and TV that Ron provides. However, over just a few days, Anna begins to realize the pleasure of some of the simpler things in life. She settles into the routine of balancing between screen time and being present within her surroundings, connecting with both her cat and her family.
The digitally painted color illustrations offer an imaginative take on a futuristic world in which cars hover and virtual reality is the way of life. Sommer has delicately demonstrated how, with some thoughtfulness, there is a place for technology, so long as we remember to disconnect from the fast-paced digital world to remain connected with the natural world and the things that truly matter.
Cats vs. Ai Pets is a sweet addition to the wave of children’s books that promote screen-free time.
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About the Author-Illustrator
Born in Göttingen, Germany, Lian Sommer remembers spending a lot of his childhood outside, discovering the parks, streets, and playgrounds of the small city in which he resided. Raised as a free thinker, his parents sent him to schools that encouraged that. He loved the late 90s. Although he played many video games, he never lost touch with real life the way he did in recent years.
After graduating from communication design studies, he ended up working in a tech startup in Lisbon, Portugal. This took its toll as he looked more at screens than at people’s faces. It felt unnatural, so he quit and made this book. A book that should act as a reminder to you and your kids to find the right balance between having real experiences and the endless stream of distraction that technology offers.
Dedicated Reviews allow authors and illustrators to gain prompt visibility for their work. This non-biased review of “Cats vs. Ai Pets” was sponsored by AiPets.com. Learn more about getting a book review »
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