The Wild Robot Escapes

In Peter Brown's sequel to his bestselling middle-grade novel, The Wild Robot, Roz is delivered to Mr. Shareef, a recent widower and father of two, to help him on his dairy farm. Hilltop Farm's animals first see Roz as "a monster," but she quickly connects with them by speaking "to the cows in the language of the animals." She bonds with the farm animals and the Shareef children, but desperately misses her adopted son, a goose named Brightbill. After many months and much help from her friends, Roz is finally reunited with Brightbill, and the two set out to return home. As she runs away from the farm, though, she feels, not free, but "something more like fear" that she'll be captured and destroyed, or that her son will be hurt. Indeed, both Roz and Brightbill are not free--in order to have any chance of making it home, they will have to escape a society that doesn't understand them.

The Wild Robot Escapes has a broad appeal beyond the typical middle-grade audience. Brown's simple prose and illustrations, in combination with the story's complex themes, make The Wild Robot Escapes both accessible and thought-provoking. Roz observes and explores her world with open curiosity, and many of her conversations pose interesting questions to the reader. Black-and-white illustrations, drawn in Brown's expressive style, add visual context that will attract and aid any reader who's still building the ability to decode text. The book also works beautifully as a read-aloud, thanks to ultra-short chapters and third-person narration that often addresses the reader directly. For the sake of Roz's happiness, readers may hope this is her final adventure. Whether it is or isn't, Roz and her numerous families have given readers a book to mull over for many years. --Stephanie Anderson, assistant director of selection, BookOps

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