Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Robot Dreams

This tale of friendship, loss, and forgiveness is simple and moving. A dog decides to buy and build a robot as a companion, and the pair have a great time until an ill-advised swim leaves the robot rusty and immobile. The dog is forced to leave his friend at the beach but when he goes back to fix and rescue him, he finds himself cut off. The rest of the book details the events that happen during the following year, with the dog and robot following different paths.

This remarkable book is the work of Sara Varon, a New York-based artist who has written other graphic novels including Cat and Chicken and Sweaterweather. Her work tends to be geared toward younger readers, with simple, strong illustrations and little if no words. But her works can be enjoyed by readers of any age. She is able to convey many details through her art, and Robot Dreams in particular conveys an compelling narrative containing many emotional beats.

This book has amassed many accolades including being named a Kirkus Best Book of the Year, a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year, an Young Adult Library Services Association Great Graphic Novel, and an Association for Library Service to Children Notable Children's Book. Reviewer em at Love YA Lit wrote that "Varon’s choice of adventures for her characters (in dreams and in reality) are quite imaginative and make the emotional journey fun, safe, and inviting." Less officially, teen-aged reviewer Funky Alpaca Trey W. called it "the most emotional picture book I have ever read."

A preview is available here from the book's publisher First Second.

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