Thursday, April 14, 2016

review of The Good Robot 4.14.16

The Wild Robot
The Wild Robot
by Peter Brown
published by Little, Brown and Company

If you're like me, you were/are anxiously waiting for Peter Brown's first middle school novel, The Wild Robot.  If you're like me, you weren't exactly sure what to expect.  Here's the Goodreads summary:
When robot Roz opens her eyes for the first time, she discovers that she is alone on a remote, wild island. Why is she there? Where did she come from? And, most important, how will she survive in her harsh surroundings? Roz's only hope is to learn from the island's hostile animal inhabitants. When she tries to care for an orphaned gosling, the other animals finally decide to help, and the island starts to feel like home. Until one day, the robot's mysterious past comes back to haunt her....

I understood the idea of the book, I just didn't know where Brown was going to take this middle grade book.

Now I know, he crafted such an excellent book, he made a fantastic read aloud.  This book begs to be read aloud and discussed.  Full of essential questions and themes, this book will be understood by adults and children alike.  But what I love about this book, is the adults are going to understand the themes on one level, and the students will see it from their own point of view.  Brown brilliantly crafts a novel that really can speak to readers of all ages.

I think the first important thing to look at are the essential questions that come up throughout the book.  They are identified pretty early in the book and answers to them would be interesting to track and discuss as the book goes on.  Questions I found included:

  • what makes you alive?
  • does being different make it harder to survive?
  • why do we change in order to fit in?
  • what makes up a family?
Along with these questions, I also found a number of themes that could be located throughout the book.  Again, the possibility of tracking and discussing these themes would be great conversation and discussions to write about.  Themes I found included:
  • survival
  • friendship
  • bullying
  • fitting in
  • forgiveness
  • life/death
  • global warning
  • kindness and understanding
I hope classrooms give this book a try as a read aloud.  I can't wait to hear about the discussions you have around this book!

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