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The Wild Robot Hardcover – April 5, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 3–7—Though Roz, a robot, is initially viewed with suspicion when she finds herself on an isolated island, she soon becomes part of the natural order, parenting an orphaned gosling and providing shelter for the animals. But is there really a place for her within this ecosystem? Interspersed with charming black-and-white illustrations, this sweetly quirky fish-out-of-water tale will have readers contemplating questions about life, death, consciousness, and artificial intelligence.
Praise for The Wild Robot:
"Brown has written a lively tale that is sure to engage young readers."―The New York Times
"Roz may not feel emotions, but young readers certainly will as this tender, captivating tale unfolds."―The Washington Post
* "[Peter] Brown's picture books are consistent bestsellers and critically acclaimed. Expect readers to go wild for his robot-themed novel."―Booklist, starred review
* "While the end to Roz's benign and wildlife is startling and violent, Brown leaves Roz and her companions--and readers--with hope. Thought-provoking and charming."―Kirkus Reviews, starred review
* "This strong debut middle grade novel by the acclaimed picture book author/illustrator is a first purchase for most middle grade collections."―School Library Journal, starred review
* "Brown's middle-grade debut, an uplifting story about an unexpected visitor whose arrival disrupts the animal inhabitants of a rocky island, has a contemporary twist...Brown wisely eschews a happy ending in favor of an open-ended one that supports the tone of a story that's simultaneously unsentimental and saturated with feeling."―Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Roz is not easy to forget."―The Horn Book
Top customer reviews
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Pros: Charlotte’s Web meets The Iron Giant in this debut novel from illustrator Peter Brown. The story is touching without being sappy or emotional, and thought-provoking without being preachy. Brown’s own illustrations are generously inserted throughout the text. If I were on the Newbery committee, this would be going to the top of my list.
Cons: The ending is a little dark. Until the last few chapters, I thought this would be a perfect read-aloud for grades 2 and up. Now I would say grade 3 or even 4 would be the youngest. Read it first if you’re not sure.
Very minor spoilers to follow: I took one star away only because it sort of vilifies humans. And it gets quite violent towards the end, where some of our main characters as well as our favorite robot are suffering at the hands of humans. I understand that we humans encroach upon and destroy nature and it affects a lot of natural habitats, and we need to be more mindful of that. I had simply hoped that in the story humans would maybe learn a lesson, or there would be at least one good person. I guess the author could be trying to teach these principles to kids by making the robot set the example, but I don't know if kids are going to relate to a robot as much as they would a human, or human child. I think may be the robot could have used a young human friend. Maybe I'm wrong. The robot certainly is an adequate role model to follow. And there is a sequal coming out. Maybe in the sequal the robot will have a human friend, or teach humans how to be more mindful of nature.
In conclusion, as a parent I would just be slightly concerned that my child might come away from this story with bit of hatred or disdain for mankind. Some children might, while others might not. You be the judge. Im just not sure if the idea of humans being muderous villians, with no redemption, is the kind of message you want to be sending to a child at a very young age. In the end I would recommend this to people of all ages because it is a good tale and it's very original. Just maybe read it before you give it to your child.
In general, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It definitely feels like an extended children's illustrated storybook, and that's not a bad thing. However, it might take a bit for some folks to really get into the groove of the novel--as, for a kids book, the real "story" takes a bit to truly get moving.
Along those lines, this is definitely for younger readers. But some parents / guardians / those-reading-the-book-aloud-to-someone might be caught off guard by the surprising violence near the book's end. For such a fun and cute story--even with some small moments of natural darkness--the climactic chapters seemed a bit much and out of place for such a story.
Still, it has solid writing and a fun story, and the artwork is truly gorgeous. Brown's work is fantastic, and I'm glad to see that his long-form storytelling is almost as solid as his short form. It might not have been the norm for him, but I'll be there to read his next middle-grade novel, too.