I'd heard a lot about this book and was really looking forward to reading it! I didn't know about all the illustrations, so that was a lovely surprise.
Description from Amazon:
Can a robot survive in the wilderness?
When robot Roz opens her eyes for the first time, she discovers that she is alone on a remote, wild island. She has no idea how she got there or what her purpose is--but she knows she needs to survive. After battling a fierce storm and escaping a vicious bear attack, she realizes that her only hope for survival is to adapt to her surroundings and learn from the island's unwelcoming animal inhabitants.
As Roz slowly befriends the animals, the island starts to feel like home--until, one day, the robot's mysterious past comes back to haunt her.
From bestselling and award-winning author and illustrator Peter Brown comes a heartwarming and action-packed novel about what happens when nature and technology collide.
The Wild Robot was written and illustrated by Peter Brown and published by Little Brown and Company in 2016.
I haven’t read a middle grade book with talking animals for a while, and I enjoyed this one. I was so interested in finding out what would happen to Roz, I read it very fast. But I’d read it again to again to study the illustrations more closely and absorb all the layers of meaning.
I enjoyed the details of the natural setting and animal behavior, as well as Roz’s understandings and communications about it. By the time I got to the end, I really wanted to find out what happens next. I hope there is a sequel!
It’s interesting to think about how Peter Brown managed to create a robot with warmth and kindness, while still keeping her robot-like characteristics and personality. I especially liked how the lessons and strategies the robot tried to learn were emphasized throughout the story.
“Our story begins on the ocean, with wind and rain and thunder and lightning and waves.”
“Roz could feel her Survival Instincts—the part of her computer brain that made her want to avoid danger and take care of herself so she could continue functioning properly.”
“Performing could be survival strategy! If the opossum could pretend to be dead, the robot could pretend to be alive. She could act less robotic and more natural.”
“It was a mystery why her computer brain knew certain things but not others.”
Peter Brown is an author and illustrator living in Brooklyn, NY. He has written and illustrated many picture books, such as My Teacher is a Monster, Mr. Tiger Goes Wild, Will You Be My Friend? and Children Make Terrible Pets. He also illustrated one of my favorites, Creepy Carrots. The Wild Robot is his first middle grade novel.
Peter Brown's blog post on how The Wild Robot developed is fascinating. He explains many considerations he had while planning, such as deciding on the gender of the robot, the setting, and where the initial idea came from. I was especially interested in how long it took for this story to develop – eight years!
I also really enjoyed reading Peter Brown’s description of what the story is about and what Roz learns. Here's a snippet: “But the most important lesson Roz learns is that kindness can be a survival skill. And she uses kindness to develop friends and a family and a peaceful life for herself. Until her mysterious past catches up with her.”
Looking for more middle grade reads? Check out the list of Marvelous Middle Grade Monday books over at author Shannon Messenger's blog.