Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

Cover image for The wild robotIn a future world a robot in a shipping crate gets washed overboard and lands on a deserted island.  The robot, whose name is Roz, is equipped with artificial intelligence.  At first Roz is not well suited to the natural environment and rough terrain of the island, but by careful observation and trial and error, it eventually adapts to life in the wild, and even learns the language of the wild animals.  As Roz "makes friends" with the animals, and comes to be the foster parent of an orphaned goose, it becomes more like a living creature, and less like a robot.

Here is a book that has received lots of starred reviews already, and I can see why.  It started out as a delightful read, with a mood kind of like Charlotte's Web.  As I read I thought, "you know, this is charming enough it could become a real classic."  But, as the story neared its end, there was one chapter where there was some violence that disturbed me. Maybe there are a lot of readers who wouldn't be bothered by the violence, but I thought it was too intense considering the mood of the rest of the book. The violent chapter made me revise the age to which I would recommend the book. Instead of being a book a family with children of all ages could read together, it became a book I would only recommend to kids that were 8 and up.  I think I will still recommend it to kids, but it made me sad that it didn't turn out to be the potential classic I thought it was in the beginning. (279 p.)

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