After a quick foreword from Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code, the story begins. Readers are introduced to Pearl, a biracial girl with a little spotted dog. She's ready for her last chance to build a sandcastle! All summer long things have gone wrong - cue a montage of a diverse range of kids and comic disasters - but today nothing can go wrong because Pearl has Pascal, a rust-proof robot. All she has to do is tell him to build a sandcastle and voila!
Or... maybe not. Turns out, Pascal needs to be given instructions in code and it's not as easy as Pearl thinks! Bit by bit, Pearl figures out how to get Pascal to build her sandcastle, meeting a variety of silly and comic mishaps along the way, as well as a diverse range of people on the beach.
A final two-page spread gives more information about code, written in simple language. This book can be read both as an instruction manual, working with young children to introduce coding concepts. It's also funny and amusing and, with some quick editing, could be a good storytime read-aloud. The diverse protagonists are a nice touch, although I noticed that the robot defaulted to male.
Verdict: A good choice even if coding isn't popular at your library; sure to be a fun summer storytime read.
ISBN: 9780425291986; Published 2018 by Dial/Penguin; Review copy provided by the publisher; Donated to the library