The Wild Robot
by Peter Brown (2016)
A Sweet Spot and Intermediate selection.
The Spanish edition of Robot Salvaje incurs a mild surcharge.
“The crate… soared through the air, spinning and glistening until it slammed down onto a tall shelf of rock. The crate was cracked and crumpled, but the robot inside was safe.”
Here is a strange and wonderful tale from renowned (and Caldecott-winning) artist, Peter Brown. A novel about a robot marooned on a mysterious island filled with flora and fauna and no one else. How will she survive in the wild? How will she adapt to animals that don’t understand her purpose? How will they adapt to her?
“The wilderness can be ugly sometimes. But from that ugliness came beauty.”
Roz, the protagonist, doesn’t know what her purpose is, but she understands that she must survive. She weathers a storm and endures a bear attack, and Roz even learns about the importance of camouflage from observing the wildlife around her. Slowly but surely finds ways to not only to help herself, but to come to know and aid the animals on the island, as well.
It’s the wake of a rockslide that changes everything. Roz finds herself caring for an orphaned gosling called Brightbill. Motherhood is almost as terrifying a concept as navigating a strange, remote island – but it’s a challenge Roz rises to meet. Brightbill, who shines just like his name, brings an abundance of joy Roz’s way, and in caring for him, Roz finds herself feeling more like a living creature instead of a cold, calculating robot.
“I was just a machine. I functioned. But you – my friends and my family – you taught me how to live.”
Roz comes to the aid of the island’s animals and natural habitats in numerous ways: offering her lodge as a winter shelter, saving a young bear cub from falling off a cliff, to running into a fire to save a baby hare. Bolstered by Brown’s dynamic illustrations, readers and listeners will quickly find themselves rooting for Roz and her animal companions, wary of both natural and man-made threats. Ultimately, The Wild Robot sings with the hopes that machines and animals can find ways to survive – together.
Families will be enamored with Roz’s story of perseverance and unselfish love as she finds her purpose and discovers the importance of friends and family. Peter Brown’s simply stated but endlessly entertaining story invites deep thought about what it means to be alive, what makes a life worth living, and how important it is to help others.