We all know and love Peter Brown’s picture books (think: Mr. Tiger Goes Wild), but this novel, which is his first foray into middle grade, is darling (and a wee bit brilliant). He addresses friendship without barrier, refuses to back down from important themes like death and life, and creates characters with a succinct yet whimsical intelligence. At times, his address seems sparse. His unsentimental view of death, which is a basic necessity in his robot’s reality, is bold. It communicates a clear position that children are big enough and wise enough to think about the nature of life. Yes, I am grateful.
The narrative is easy to follow and simple: a robot washes ashore and comes to life (in more ways than one) on an island full of wild creatures big and small. She mothers a gosling, fights bears, and negotiates armistices of all kinds. She begins our story as a piece of equipment. She doesn’t understand friendship, emotion, community or even communication. She doesn’t know how to be intimate, how to love, and she definitely doesn’t know how to play. Yet, these are the things she learns from her friends; these are the ways she survives. And truly, aren’t these the things that give us life? Are these the things that theologians call the imago dei?
This is the story of a Robot that actually comes to life. This wild Robot causes the reader to consider that it isn’t a beating heart that gives us life. It is our friends, our loves, our ability to learn, adapt, to be both WILD and refined. May humanity come as fully alive as this robot. Teach us more, Peter Brown, about the differences between a fully charged battery and a fully lived life!
Now….who’s ready to be inspired to craft?!
Helping Roz the Robot go wild
This book is complete. As in, this book contains a huge animal party with a fire, dancing, and a costume reveal reminiscent of the cat walk at a drag show – and I mean that with ALL the respect I can muster. It is funny and beautiful and mostly…WILD. Roz steps out of the shadows, into the light of the fire covered in mud, caked with flowers and grasses, and flitting with animal friends. There is no doubt, Roz is QUEEN of the wild things. After reading this short chapter, we decided that we would have to decorate our own Roz. So I pulled out some of my favorite books to inspire, let the kiddos pick out flowers, creatures, and bugs for me to draw. They colored in my drawings, which is one of their favorite things to do. Who doesn’t love a homemade mama-style coloring sheet?
Favorite Critter-Inspiring Books
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Natures Day – by Kay Maquire and Danielle Kroll (Wide Eyed Press)
Disgusting Critters – by Elise Gravel (Tundra Books)
Creaturepedia – by Adrienne Barman (Wide Eyed Press)
Ooko – by Esme Shapiro (Tundra Books)
Field Guide to Creatures Great and Small – Lucy Engelman (WEP)