'Bot Buddies: When Edgar Met Cecil by Kevin Luthardt
EDGAR HAD A NICE LIFE.
HE LOVED TO PLAY WITH HIS BEST FRIEND QUINCY.
AND AFTER SCHOOL, THEY LIKED TO BUILD STUFF.
ON WEEKENDS THEY WATCHED SCARY MOVIES.
ONE DAY EDGAR'S PARENTS TOLD HIM THAT THEY WERE MOVING.
Nooooooo! Suddenly, Edgar is whisked away from his perfect life and finds himself in a new place which looks completely alien. The new school is different and the food in the cafeteria looks like something he's never seen before. The kids are downright weird looking, beyond anything he saw in those scary Saturday night movies! And one of them, Cecil, keeps staring at him with a look that Edgar can't read.
It's a kid's worst nightmare. Edgar is indeed a stranger in a strange land.
THE KIDS LOOKED WEIRD. THEY DRESSED FUNNY. THEY LISTENED TO BIZARRE MUSIC. THEY ATE STRANGE FOOD.
What the narrative doesn't tell (but the illustrations do so well) is that Edgar is some sort of robotic droid and the kids in his new school actually are alien forms of intelligent life. Cecil is more than a weird version of Edgar's kind; he's another life form altogether! Cecil keeps his distance from the others at recess, but that weird guy seems to be shadowing him everywhere he goes.
And then one day Cecil gets really close. Edgar blurts out that he's scared.
"YOU'RE SCARING ME!" THE BIG WEIRD KID SAID.
Suddenly Edgar sees himself the way the others must see him. To them, he's weird and scary! That realization is the stuff of Kevin Luthhardt's When Edgar Met Cecil (Peachtree Publishing, 2013). While the storyline is the quintessential new-kid-at-school story, Luthardt's big, bright, and funny illustrations show what Edgar doesn't tell us, that he's an robot, an android among aliens and they're all weird in wondrously different ways. Still, Luthardt's conclusion shows the two discovering that they have a lot in common despite their differences, and all's well, as Cecil admits to Edgar:
"YOU KNOW, YOU'RE PRETTY COOL FOR A NEW KID," SAID CECIL.
And, as Kirkus Reviews, sums it up, "This far-out lesson in making friends understands that to the new kid in school, everyone is going to seem scary and weird."