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Publishers Weekly Review
Brown's middle-grade debut, an uplifting story about an unexpected visitor whose arrival disrupts the animal inhabitants of a rocky island, has a contemporary twist: the main character is a robot. A hurricane deposits Roz (short for ROZZUM unit 7134) on the island, where she is accidentally activated by a group of sea otters, who are terrified by the shiny monster awakening before their eyes. At first, Roz struggles to survive in an environment where she is treated as a frightening intruder, but after she adopts an abandoned gosling, she slowly becomes part of the island community, learning animal language and taking on motherhood and a leadership role. Brown (Mr. Tiger Goes Wild) convincingly builds a growing sense of cooperation among the animals and Roz as she blossoms in the wild. The allegory of otherness is clear but never heavy-handed, and Roz has just enough human attributes to make her sympathetic while retaining her robot characteristics. Brown wisely eschews a happy ending in favor of an open-ended one that supports the tone of a story that's simultaneously unsentimental and saturated with feeling. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8-12. Agent: Paul Rodeen, Rodeen Literary Management. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal Review
Gr 3-7-Though Roz, a robot, is initially viewed with suspicion when she finds herself on an isolated island, she soon becomes part of the natural order, parenting an orphaned gosling and providing shelter for the animals. But is there really a place for her within this ecosystem? Interspersed with charming black-and-white illustrations, this sweetly quirky fish-out-of-water tale will have readers contemplating questions about life, death, consciousness, and artificial intelligence. © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
*Starred Review* In the wake of a hurricane, a crate washes up on an island's shore, where some curious otters tug it open, accidentally pressing a button as they do so. A shiny, new robot ROZZUM unit 7134 whirs to life. What follows is not a flash-bang robot adventure but a WALL-E-esque tale of wilderness survival and friendship. Roz is clearly not built for life in the wild, but she uses her ability to learn from her surroundings to adapt. By observing the island's animals (who initially think she is a monster), she learns to camouflage herself and eventually speak their language. When she adopts an orphaned gosling, the island's animals finally warm to her. Although there is much about the story that charms, Brown doesn't gloss over the harsher aspects of life in the wild animals hunt each other and die of exposure but a logic-driven robot provides the perfect way to objectively observe nature's order. One day a ship arrives, shattering the island's peace and activating Roz's survival instincts and with good reason. Brown's first attempt at writing for an older audience is a success, and though this Caldecott honoree's final artwork was not seen, his illustrations should certainly enhance the story. Readers will take a shine to Roz, and an open ending leaves room for more robot adventures. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Brown's picture books are consistent best-sellers and critically acclaimed. Expect readers to go wild for his robot-themed novel.--Smith, Julia Copyright 2015 Booklist
Horn Book Review
When five shipping crates from a doomed ship crash ashore on a deserted island, only one of them -- containing our robot protagonist -- is lucky enough to survive undamaged. ROZZUM unit 7134 quickly switches herself on, announces that "you may call me Roz," and begins this unlikeliest of Robinsonades. Luckily, Roz has been designed to teach herself and thus gradually acclimates herself to life in the wild among the islands creatures, who themselves must adjust to her. While Brown is honest about the harshness of wilderness life (and informative about the nature and challenges of the islands ecosystem), most of the crises in the book are relatively low-key and managed within a few chapters -- all very short and often ending with cliffhangers, making the book a natural for classroom reading-aloud. The omniscient direct-address prose is simple and declarative, but plenty of emotion is evoked by the characters, even Roz, who claims not to even have emotions, but whose mothering of an orphaned goose tells us different. In his first novel, picture-book creator Brown (Mr. Tiger Goes Wild, rev. 11/13) includes plenty of spot art whose grayscale geometric stylization of the natural world lends both mystery and sophistication to the books look. A closing assault on the island by robots sent to retrieve Roz is a bit much, but it provides an open ending, or perhaps a hint that a sequel may be in the works. Either way, Roz is not easy to forget. roger sutton(c) Copyright 2016. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Book Review
A sophisticated robotwith the capacity to use senses of sight, hearing, and smellis washed to shore on an island, the only robot survivor of a cargo of 500. When otters play with her protective packaging, the robot is accidently activated. Roz, though without emotions, is intelligent and versatile. She can observe and learn in service of both her survival and her principle function: to help. Brown links these basic functions to the kind of evolution Roz undergoes as she figures out how to stay dry and intact in her wild environmentnot easy, with pine cones and poop dropping from above, stormy weather, and a family of cranky bears. She learns to understand and eventually speak the language of the wild creatures (each species with its different "accent"). An accident leaves her the sole protector of a baby goose, and Roz must ask other creatures for help to shelter and feed the gosling. Roz's growing connection with her environment is sweetly funny, reminiscent of Randall Jarrell's The Animal Family. At every moment Roz's actions seem plausible and logical yet surprisingly full of something like feeling. Robot hunters with guns figure into the climax of the story as the outside world intrudes. While the end to Roz's benign and wild life is startling and violent, Brown leaves Roz and her companionsand readerswith hope. Thought-provoking and charming. (Science fiction/fantasy. 7-11) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.