The Wild Robot
When robot Roz crash lands on an island, she's forced to fight for survival. The only way Roz can live is by learning about her new environment from the island's hostile animal inhabitants. But when she finds herself taking care of a baby goose, all the animals pitch in and teach Roz how to thrive in this new world. Heartwarming and full of action, Peter Brown's debut will raise thought-provoking questions about the role technology plays in society, how humans affect the world around us, and what it means to be alive.
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.
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.
I'm not sure there's a star rating for that, but you get the picture.
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.