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Robot Dreams Paperback – August 7, 2007
Frequently Bought Together
From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Grade 3 Up—Dog wants a friend. Dog builds a robot. The two go to the library to get movies, and they make popcorn. They go to the beach, and the dog encourages the robot to play with him in the water. Robot is unable to move afterward because he has rusted stiff, and the dog finally leaves him there on his blanket on the sand. Seasons pass, and both Robot and Dog reflect on what happened, and both are changed because of this experience. The canine goes through a series of friendships that are unfulfilling in different ways: a duck goes south for the winter, a snowman melts, and the anteaters expect him to share their lunches. Meanwhile, the robot is lying on the beach, immobile but awake. He dreams of being rescued, of making new friends, of reuniting with Dog, of never having entered the water in the first place. While he dreams, his body is covered by sand and snow, is used for parts by scavengers, and even serves as a nesting place for a bird. This almost wordless (and dialogue-free) graphic novel is by turns funny and poignant. The cartoon artwork is clear and easy to understand. Varon uses a muted palette of earth tones with great skill. This book is like those board games that can be appreciated by anyone from 8 to 80. It is a quick read, but it will stay with readers long after they put it down.—Andrea Lipinski, New York Public Library
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*Starred Review* In this nearly wordless graphic novel, Dog's desire for a companion is satisfied the day Robot arrives by mail. Dog assembles Robot, and their adventure begins. After visiting the library, watching movies, and eating popcorn, the companions end up at the dog beach. Robot is hesitant to frolic in the waves at first, but after a short pause, he dives right in. The result is unfortunatea rusty, immobile Robot. Unsure of what to do for his friend, remorseful Dog abandons Robot on the sand to dream of what might have been (depicted first in brown tonal artwork as opposed to the color used to designate actions in real time) had things turned out differently. While Robot is used and abused, and eventually disposed of in a scrap yard, Dog agonizes over his companion, then begins searching for a new one with mixed, sometimes comic results. Varon's drawing style is uncomplicated, and her colors are clean and refreshing. Although her story line seems equally simple, it is invested with true emotion. Her masterful depiction of Dog's struggles with guilt and Robot's dreams of freedom effectively pulls readers into this journey of friendship, loss, self-discovery, and moving forward. Use this as Exhibit A to prove that graphic novels can pack an emotional punch equal to some of the best youth fiction. King, Kevin
Top Customer Reviews
A dog purchases a robot kit so that he might have a friend to hang out with. The robot, a mellow type, enjoys hanging out with the dog, eating popcorn, watching movies, and going to the library.Read more ›
About the Dog, You don't bring a friend to life (heavy stuff) and then abandon them paralyzed on a beach in a time of need. Also you don't stop trying to save them because of a "no trespassing" sign. It bugged me the dog didn't try harder, I kept wondering why he didn't keep going back. Determination was totally overlooked, imagine if a parent left a child helpless on the beach because they couldn't lift them, not likely. It was obvious the dogs lack of ambition was necessary to facilitate the ending.
About the Robot, he's a good sport, but in the end should have let the dog know he was still alive and well. Humming the music wasn't enough, I'd hate to find out someone close I thought was dead was still alive and didn't tell me. For any of this to make sense, some sort of actual reunion/reconciliation needed to occur.
Visually it's nice, but it's hard to imagine anyone would act so passively in somewhat dire circumstances.
Sooner or later, someone new comes along... an imperfect reflection of the first and truest friendship... you'll be happy again, but you will always remember the first TRUE friendship with nostalgia... and you'll never give your heart like you did the first time.
If country music had robots and dogs, this would be a song.
Love the illustrations, though.
Note to self, taking book recommendations from fictional characters isn't always the best of ideas.
Not that this is a terrible book -- there was a sweetness and charm to the characters, the simple and cute art, and the wordless way the characters interacted. But the story left me feeling very unsatisified.
The story of "Robot Dreams" is as simple as its art -- a dog builds a robot, the two of them become best friends, and the robot ends up stranded on the beach when he rusts after his first swim. The rest is hard to describe without spoiling it, but essentially it's a tale of moving on after losing a friend, and learning how to love life again after a loss.
That message is a good one, I will admit, but I feel that "Robot Dreams" handled it badly. Its message doesn't seem to be "friendship conquers all" or "it's possible to be happy after losing someone you care for," but "you don't have to keep trying if something seems hard." The characters don't fight difficult situations to help each other, but seem to give up once the going gets too hard. And that just left a bad taste in my mouth.
A cute book with an adorable art style, which is sadly marred by what I felt to be a botched ending. Probably best for ages 10 and up.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A wonderful tale of friendship between a lonely dog and his new robot. Recommended for the whimsical artwork and the surprising amount of depth that Sara Varon extracts from her... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Wayne Murphy
I adore this for something bitter-sweet, innocent yet not naïve, dreamy and evocative, but still concrete with an concrete plot to follow for children (high school too!). Read morePublished 8 months ago by Claire
This is such a great book for children ranging from two years old through reading ages. The story is not at all shallow and beautifully illustrates the complexity and transitory... Read morePublished 9 months ago by B. Witmer
I withhold the 4th star because I haven't read this myself yet. My 5 year old bought it worth his allowance and really enjoyed it. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Fairchilds
I've collected graphic novels since 1980 as a kid. This one is so deep beautiful I give it as presents to my friends and their children for gifts. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Jake Kagan
Narrative Literacy in a Poetic book. This teaches narrative without literacy. It's great not only for kids who don't read fluently yet — to build their confidence and make them... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Mom with Ph.D.
I both like and hate this book with equal favor.
For having no words, it elicits a stunning amount of emotion from the reader... Read more
Honestly I don't know how to rate and review this book. I didn't love it and there were large parts of it I found stupid. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Shelli