I’m not sure what I expected when I picked up this book, but whatever it was, it wasn’t what I got – surprise, delight, joy. If you’ve read my last few reviews, you might be thinking that I just love everything. Not true. Not true at all.
This book is a special one, though. In the day since I finished it, I’ve already recommended it to four people, suggested it would make a great class read-aloud for many ages, and thought about its possible connections to discussions on the environment, global warming, nature vs. nurture, or maybe even general parenting issues.
So what is it about Roz and The Wild Robot? I’m not sure it really fits one genre. You could mentally file it with something like science fiction or books-with-talking-animals or books-about-friendship or throw it in with stories about nature, living in the wild, or fitting in after a move. Is it a little dystopian? Hmmm. There’s whimsical fantasy, action and adventure, overcoming adversity, living as part of a diverse world. There are really just too many categories to Venn diagram this book.
It’s just a really, really good story. You connect with Roz, because she’s trying to figure out and adapt to a world she doesn’t understand. You cheer her successes. You’re afraid when things go wrong. You like the way she is always trying to help others, even if that might only be a wired-in survival strategy. You’re not sure if she’s experiencing emotions, but you experience emotions.
It should come as no surprise that this author wrote and illustrated one of my favorite picture books, The Curious Garden. The Wild Robot’s illustrations are also wonderful, and although this is Brown’s middle grade debut, I sure hope there’s more where this came from. I love picture books, but we’ll all be missing out if he doesn’t keep writing things like this. Or not like this. I’m expecting the unexpected from him now, although perhaps that won’t help me a bit – he’ll just surprise me again. Wonderful, quirky, fun, light-filled. Wow.
The Wild Robot by Peter Brown