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Robot Dreams
     

Robot Dreams

4.0 3
by Sara Varon
 

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In this universal story of friendship, loss, and redemption, a dog and a robot become friends. But their days of friendship are numbered.

This moving, charming graphic novel about a dog and a robot shows us in poignant detail how powerful and fragile relationships are. After a Labor Day jaunt to the beach leaves the robot rusted, immobilized in the sand,

Overview

In this universal story of friendship, loss, and redemption, a dog and a robot become friends. But their days of friendship are numbered.

This moving, charming graphic novel about a dog and a robot shows us in poignant detail how powerful and fragile relationships are. After a Labor Day jaunt to the beach leaves the robot rusted, immobilized in the sand, the dog must return alone to the life they shared. But the memory of their friendship lingers, and as the seasons pass, the dog tries to fill the emotional void left by the loss of his closest friend, making and losing a series of friends, from a melting snowman to epicurean anteaters. But for the robot, lying rusting on the beach, the only relief from loneliness is in dreams.

This new paperback edition of Robot Dreams by Sara Varon includes new backmatter, including a Q&A with the author, behind-the-scenes sketches, and more.

A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year
A PW Best Book of the Year
An ALSC Notable Children’s Book
A YALSA Great Graphic Novel

“Tender, funny and wise.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Invested with true emotion.” —Booklist, starred review

“By turns funny and poignant . . . it will stay with readers long after they put it down.” —School Library Journal, starred review

“Sophisticatedly understated, with subtle gestural cues and colors in a minor key, yet the blossoming friendship between the dog and the robot is unmistakably joyful.” —Kirkus Reviews

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Robots, ducks, melting snowmen and other mute creatures, all rendered in sweet and simple drawings, go through some very big, very human ordeals in Varon's (Chicken and Cat) elegiac and lovely graphic novel about friendship. Dog buys a build-your-own-robot kit and assembles a new best friend for himself. But a day at the beach leaves Robot's joints rusted and immobile, and Dog is obliged to abandon him there. While Dog spends the next year trying to fill the hole in his life left by Robot-and assuage his guilt-Robot lies inert on the beach, dreaming of rescue and escape. Dog's episodic stories are particularly poignant in the way they mirror the human tendency to "try things out" in the hopes of meeting some emotional need; Robot is an avatar for all children who wonder why they aren't receiving the love they think they deserve. In a conclusion both powerful and original, Robot ends up reworked into a radio by a raccoon grateful for the music, and forgives Dog, even if Dog doesn't realize it; for once characters don't have to wind up back together to find happiness. Tender, funny and wise. Ages 8-up. (Aug.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature
A year goes by, month by month, in the life of our main character, a dog, and of the robot he orders by mail that at first becomes his companion and friend. No words of dialog or narration are employed, as the dog leaves the robot on the beach after an ill-advised swim and then is distressed to find the beach closed when he returns to rescue and repair it. As the months pass, the dog tries other friends that do or do not work out, while the robot dreams time away on the beach. He is then carted off to a junk yard, to be used in the creation of a friend for someone else. Meanwhile the dog, unable to locate his old robot friend, builds a new one he is more careful with. An odd connection is made at the end. Simple line drawings of cartoon-like anthropomorphic characters are tinted with flat color and presented in typical comic-strip boxes, three to six to a page, imaginatively designed. The relationships among the assorted characters take on human dimensions; we accept the dog-created snowman shivering with the cold until dressed in jacket and hat. Even the robot’s dreams, framed in wavy lines, seem possible. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal

Gr 3 Up
Dog wants a friend. Dog builds a robot. The two go to the library to get movies, and they make popcorn. They go to the beach, and the dog encourages the robot to play with him in the water. Robot is unable to move afterward because he has rusted stiff, and the dog finally leaves him there on his blanket on the sand. Seasons pass, and both Robot and Dog reflect on what happened, and both are changed because of this experience. The canine goes through a series of friendships that are unfulfilling in different ways: a duck goes south for the winter, a snowman melts, and the anteaters expect him to share their lunches. Meanwhile, the robot is lying on the beach, immobile but awake. He dreams of being rescued, of making new friends, of reuniting with Dog, of never having entered the water in the first place. While he dreams, his body is covered by sand and snow, is used for parts by scavengers, and even serves as a nesting place for a bird. This almost wordless (and dialogue-free) graphic novel is by turns funny and poignant. The cartoon artwork is clear and easy to understand. Varon uses a muted palette of earth tones with great skill. This book is like those board games that can be appreciated by anyone from 8 to 80. It is a quick read, but it will stay with readers long after they put it down.
—Andrea LipinskiCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
A wordless graphic novel provides a plangent meditation on the nature of friendship. When a dog buys a mail-order robot kit and puts it together, the two become fast friends. On an ill-fated trip to the beach salt water works its corrosive way on the robot, and the dog is forced to leave his immobilized friend lying on its towel on the sand. Their separate stories unfold over the next 11 months, as the dog makes an effort to repair his friend, only to discover the beach has closed, then turns to other friendships, while the robot lies suffering the ravages of weather and neglect and dreaming of friendships past and possible. Varon's muted blues, grays and browns set the emotional tone for this tale, angularly regular hand-framed panels that only rarely vary with frameless images serving to emphasize the emotional confinement of her protagonists. The resolution is psychologically ambiguous, denying readers the satisfaction of a happy reunion but offering them the harder-edged truth that friendships change and die-but others can rise in their place. Witty and plaintive by turns, this is thoughtful, provocative pleasure. (Graphic novel. 8-14)
From the Publisher

“Tender, funny and wise.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Invested with true emotion.” —Booklist, starred review

“This almost wordless (and dialogue-free) graphic novel is by turns funny and poignant . . . it will stay with readers long after they put it down.” —School Library Journal, starred review

“Sophisticatedly understated, with subtle gestural cues and colors in a minor key, yet the blossoming friendship between the dog and the robot is unmistakably joyful.” —Kirkus Reviews

"This is one of those rare pieces that truly qualifies as an all-ages graphic novel, with a wordless story (save for the occasional bits of signage, printed ephemera, and free-floating sound effects and exclamations) packed with enough droll events to engage primary-schoolers, and bittersweet observations on the mutable nature of friendships best understood by those who've been around long enough to win some and lose some.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, Recommended Book

“Emotional experiences are shared without a word in this graphic novel that elicits laughter, tears, and a realization of the complexity of friendships.” —NCTE Notable Book in the Language Arts Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781613838358
Publisher:
Perfection Learning Corporation
Publication date:
03/26/2013
Pages:
160
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
8 - 11 Years

Meet the Author

Originally from outside Chicago, Sara Varon now resides in Brooklyn, where she likes to ride her bike, see movies, and hang out with dogs. Her other books include Sweaterweather, Bake Sale, and Chicken and Cat, and she illustrated Odd Duck.

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Robot Dreams (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
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