Oh, those pictures! Wait! Sorry…wrong blog, wrong medal!
So, let’s get into our first book discussion – Peter Brown’s The Wild Robot
. Starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, School Library Journal, and Booklist. Adam Rubin praised it in the New York Times. Is it a Newbery contender? Well, this is a great chance to pull out our Criteria for the first time this year. What makes a book distinguished, according to the Newbery Medal terms and criteria?
- Marked by eminence and distinction; noted for significant achievement.
- Marked by excellence in quality.
- Marked by conspicuous excellence or eminence.
- Individually distinct.
In my opinion, there is no doubt that The Wild Robot meets these definitions of distinguished, but I’d love to hear your interpretations of how it does, or does not.
The robot, Roz, is our protagonist and is unlike any other character I’ve encountered thus far this year. Humanoid, but definitely not human, she is introduced as a being that doesn’t feel emotions. Then we spend the whole book watching her react in a way that can be read as with emotion. Are these real emotions, or just artificial reactions learned from watching other creatures with emotion? The book brings questions of what makes humanity, what makes emotions, where we fit in on our earth and with its other creatures, and also functions as just a great adventure and wilderness novel, a coming-of-age story of sorts, and a little tiny bit of science fiction.
Is there an arguement that it is too heavy-handed or too obvious in its metaphor?
What do you think?
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About Sharon McKellar
Sharon McKellar is the Supervising Librarian for Teen Services at the Oakland Public Library in California. She has served on the Rainbow List Committee, the Notable Children’s Recordings Committee, The Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Committee, and the 2015 Caldecott Committee. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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