Review: Little Robot

Life outside the robot factory is confusing.

Little Robot has a lot to learn…

And that’s what friends are for.

But with danger in the way, will friendship be enough to save them?

If you’ve read my review of Mighty Jack, it likely won’t come as much of a surprise to hear that I’m a big fan of the works of Ben Hatke. Hatke gets kids, and he creates graphic novels that kids get.

Little Robot is very different from Mighty Jack, but it’s still a wonderful book in its own right, and one that will likely appeal to an audience all its own. Unlike Mighty Jack, Little Robot has very limited text, instead conveying its plot and characterizations predominantly through a series of colourful illustrations. Its two main characters are a little robot and a small child, two outsiders who have a lot to teach, and learn from, each other.

The story has some similarities with Little Bot and Sparrow, in that it features an out-of-place robot and the living creature who befriends it, but in actuality it has more in common with films like E.T. and Short Circuit. Little Robot wasn’t dumped from the robot factory, it was inadvertently released, and the people who made it want it back, and will do whatever it takes to get it.

Theres’s a great bit of action in Little Bot that makes it a real page-turner, and which is likely to grab young readers and draw them in. But it’s not all about the adventure – Little Robot also tackles such topics as identity and family, in a gentle, child-accessible way. Little Robot and its human friend are two very different creatures – can they still become a family, despite their different backgrounds and identities? The minimal text also allows readers to interpret the action in their own way, and create their own stories based on the imagery, really immersing themselves in Little Robot’s world.

Action-packed but infused with a real gentleness, Little Robot is a perfect graphic novel for the younger crowd, and will appeal both to “struggling” or “reluctant” readers and voracious readers alike.

Little Robot

Hardcover, 135 pages
September 1, 2015 : First Second
Source: Raincoast Books

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