The Wild Robot, or Roz, returns in an exciting sequel. At the end of her first book, Roz was taken away from the island where she lived with her animal friends and her adopted son, the goose named Brightbill. Roz had been damaged and her friends loaded her onto an airship so that she would be returned to the factory and repaired. So this adventure begins with Roz being sent from the factory to work for a farmer who has purchased her. His farm is in disrepair and he needs help, but cannot afford more than a refurbished robot. As Roz works on the farm and pretends to be like all other robots, she longs to return to the island and misses her son. She wonders if she can find some sympathetic humans to help her escape back to her home, or will she be stuck on the farm forever? From the title readers may guess that Roz does escape, but that doesn't guarantee a happy ending. There are many miles to cross between the farm and the island, dangers are everywhere, and there's the very big problem that robots can't swim. How will she reach her home?
At one point in the story Roz is discussing what makes her so unlike the other robots. She says, "I do not feel defective. I feel...different. Is being different the same as being defective?" "I hope not," said Jaya. "Otherwise we're all a little defective." That is a wonderful message for young readers. Everyone is a little different, but that does not make anyone defective or less than others. Roz has a lot of things to teach readers. She talks to a robot designer about how she learned to survive on the island and how the animals came to accept her because she showed them kindness. She also says, "Every problem has a peaceful solution. Violence is unnecessary." If only humans could be as wise as this wild robot!
Since I read an early review copy, the final art was not included. I can only imagine how much richer the story will be once Peter Brown adds all the illustrations of Roz, her friends, and her journey. Readers who are familiar with his books such as Mr. Tiger Goes Wild, The Curious Garden, and Creepy Carrots will know what I mean - if the text alone could make me laugh and cry, the text plus the artwork will be stunning. Highly recommended for middle grades and up.
I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.
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