Our trip to visit children and grandchildren included plans to read aloud The Wild Robot Escapes, by Peter Brown. It is brand new, and the sequel to The Wild Robot, an outstanding book and one of my absolute favorites.
Within a few hours of arriving, I was ready to read aloud and so were the children– ages 10, 8, and 6. Hubby wanted to listen, too. But, things did not go as expected. Not at all.
We got to the end of chapter one, page four. The last sentences read:
“But this was no ordinary robot. This was ROZZUM unit 7134. You might remember her old life on a remote, wild island. Well, Roz’s new life was just about to begin.”
The eight-year-old asked, “Who is Roz? What was the wild island?”
He hadn’t read the book. Neither had the six-year-old. Like me, the ten-year-old had not only read the book, she knew it ranked among the best. I explained Roz and also the island to her siblings, with a brief overview of the story. That only led to more questions. At last she said, “Grammy, let’s read the first book.” Yes!”, shouted her siblings. So, we snuggled in to read The Wild Robot.
The book is just as exciting and perhaps better, when reading it the second time around. That’s what happens with good books. They’re meant to be read again and again.
Roz is a robot, one of many, assembled and packed into crates, and put on a cargo ship. The ship crashes and sinks, and only five crates wash ashore onto an island. All eventually break apart except the crate that contains Roz. Curious otters accidentally activate the robot, and thus begins the story. Roz slowly learns about the island and the inhabitants. It is with great trepidation that the animals get to know Roz and begin to except her as anything but a monster.
“Grammy, why are the other animals so mean to Roz? She likes them. She’s nice,” asked the six-year-old.
A question that is music to my ears. It opens the door to talking about diversity and acceptance.
The book builds on Roz and the island and the animals, starting with the last surviving gosling egg– Roz accidentally killed the two geese and their eggs. Relationships develop with different animals in a way that incorporates adventure and also life lessons into the story. The reader feels strong ties with Roz and has a sense of understanding nature and the way of the world. A cliff hanger ending is perfect. The Wild Robot is adventure, nature, diversity, robots, and animals all wrapped up into one great story.
Amazon’s 5-star review calls the book “Wall-E meets Hatchet“:
“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 pack to haunt her. A heartwarming and action-packed novel about what happens when nature and technology collide.”
We went to Barnes & Noble the next day. Look what we saw:
Both books were displayed together. Next visit, The Wild Robot Escapes will be our read aloud. Can’t wait!