Robot dreams /
Sara Varon.
imprint
New York : First Second, 2007.
description
205 p. : chiefly col. ill. ; 22 cm.
ISBN
1596431083, 9781596431089
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
author
imprint
New York : First Second, 2007.
isbn
1596431083
9781596431089
general note
":01 First Second."
abstract
The enduring friendship between a dog and a robot is portrayed in this wordless graphic novel.
catalogue key
10053314
A Look Inside
Awards
This item was nominated for the following awards:
Garden State Teen Book Award, USA, 2010 : Nominated
Great Lakes' Great Books Award, USA, 2008 - 2009 : Nominated
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2007-08-13:
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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Reviews
Review Quotes
Starred Review in August 2007 BooklistIn this nearly wordless graphic novel, Dog's desire for a companion is satisfied the day Robot arrives by mail. Dog assembles Robot, and their adventures begin. After visiting the library, watching movies, and eating popcorn, the companions end up at the dog beach. Robot is hesitant to frolic in the waves with Dog at first, but after a short pause, he dives right in. The result is unfortunate a rusty, immobile Robot. Unsure of what to do next, remorseful Dog abandons Robot on the sand to dream of what might have been (depicted first in brown tonal artwork as opposed to the color used to designate actions in real time) had things turned out differently. While Robot is used and abused, and eventually disposed of in a scrap yard, Dog agonizes over his companion, then begins searching for a new one with mixed, sometimes comic results. Varon's drawing style is uncomplicated, and her colors are clean and refreshing. And although her story line seems equally simple, it is invested with true emotion. Varon's masterful depiction of Dog's struggles with guilt and Robot's dreams of freedom effectively pulls readers into this journey of friendship, loss, self-discovery, and moving forward. Use this as Exhibit A to prove that graphic novels can pack an emotional punch equal to some of the best youth fiction. Featured in May 2007 issue of KirkusDogs like company. Mostly they hang around with other dogs, but sometimes with robots. Or so Sara Varon would have us believe, and this wordless graphic novel has us very much believing. Robot Dreams is 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. It is also a friendship born under a dark star. "The book is about everyone who ever lost or grew out of a friendship," says Varon, whose own star is fast rising on the graphic novel/indy comic stage. "Sometimes in our own lives, things go surprisingly wrong or work out differently than we would want or expect. I hope readers will find it interesting to see how my two characters make the best of their bad deal." The dog seeks new friends, and the robot dreams of better circumstances, since they can't get much worse: abandoned at the beach, covered by a blanket of snow for much of the time, only to wind up in a scrap yard. Still, Fate has more in wait for the robot, including a family of robins nesting in his armpit and a new life in music. "The book sounds kind of gloomy," says Varon, "and strange. But the characters still have fun at this odd moment in their lives, even in the midst of unhappiness, just like we all do." Review in 1st July 2007 issue of KirkusA 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
Starred Review in August 2007 Booklist In this nearly wordless graphic novel, Dog's desire for a companion is satisfied the day Robot arrives by mail. Dog assembles Robot, and their adventures begin. After visiting the library, watching movies, and eating popcorn, the companions end up at the dog beach. Robot is hesitant to frolic in the waves with Dog at first, but after a short pause, he dives right in. The result is unfortunate a rusty, immobile Robot. Unsure of what to do next, remorseful Dog abandons Robot on the sand to dream of what might have been (depicted first in brown tonal artwork as opposed to the color used to designate actions in real time) had things turned out differently. While Robot is used and abused, and eventually disposed of in a scrap yard, Dog agonizes over his companion, then begins searching for a new one with mixed, sometimes comic results. Varon's drawing style is uncomplicated, and her colors are clean and refreshing. And although her story line seems equally simple, it is invested with true emotion. Varon's masterful depiction of Dog's struggles with guilt and Robot's dreams of freedom effectively pulls readers into this journey of friendship, loss, self-discovery, and moving forward. Use this as Exhibit A to prove that graphic novels can pack an emotional punch equal to some of the best youth fiction. Featured in May 2007 issue of Kirkus Dogs like company. Mostly they hang around with other dogs, but sometimes with robots. Or so Sara Varon would have us believe, and this wordless graphic novel has us very much believing. Robot Dreams is 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. It is also a friendship born under a dark star. "The book is about everyone who ever lost or grew out of a friendship," says Varon, whose own star is fast rising on the graphic novel/indy comic stage. "Sometimes in our own lives, things go surprisingly wrong or work out differently than we would want or expect. I hope readers will find it interesting to see how my two characters make the best of their bad deal." The dog seeks new friends, and the robot dreams of better circumstances, since they can't get much worse: abandoned at the beach, covered by a blanket of snow for much of the time, only to wind up in a scrap yard. Still, Fate has more in wait for the robot, including a family of robins nesting in his armpit and a new life in music. "The book sounds kind of gloomy," says Varon, "and strange. But the characters still have fun at this odd moment in their lives, even in the midst of unhappiness, just like we all do." Review in 1st July 2007 issue of Kirkus 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) Review in July 2007 issue of Library Journal The wordless graphic novel for children. Adults, quite frankly, haven't a clue how to deal with them. But for those kids intimidated by words, new to the English language, or just fond of visual storytelling, these new forms of literature are nothing less than a godsend. From the picture book-sized, "The Boy, the Bear, the Baron, the Bard," to Andy Runton's remarkably popular, "Owly" series, wordless has never been hotter amongst the young 'uns. More to the point, graphic novel imprint First Second has never been intimidated by new formats. Its mighty peculiar "A.L.I.E.E.E.N.", for example, was essentially wordless (not to say wuh-eird weird weird). Though First Second may tend to look to other nations for their stories, they''re certainly not afraid of a little homegrown talent on the side. Enter Sara Varon. Best known at the moment for the wordless picture book "Cat and Chicken", this Brooklyn resident has produced a full-blown novel of remarkable sweetness. Linear and lovely, broken up with daydreams and fantasies, Robot Dreams is a small "simple" story of friendship and letting go. Relationships have never pared down so perfectly. A dog purchases a robot kit so that he might have a friend to hang out with. The robot, a mellow type, enjoys hanging out with the dog, eating popcorn, watching movies, and going to the library. A trip to the beach, however, turns out to be a less than stellar idea when the robot goes swimming only to rust up and find that it can no longer move. The dog goes home for the night, intending to take the robot along later. Unfortunately, the beach is closed the next day and the poor robot is stuck on the sand, dreaming of things both good and bad. As the months go by, both robot and dog have their own small adventures, real and unreal. By the end, however, they each find new and separate companions. The last image in the book is of the robot seeing the dog with another robot, and understanding that this is a case when you've just got to let the person you love go. You get certain ideas about a book when you look at it. Reading about the concept and glancing at the cover, I had the vague idea that the title would be a series of small adventures shared by the dog and the robot. So when the robot seized up 18 pages into the narrative and was abandoned by his companion (with more than 150 pages to go) I admit that I was a little shocked. Out the window go all my assumptions about the story. Though it''s difficult to call it "writing" without having any words to direct you to, Varon''s grasp of what makes a good narrative serves her very well here. It doesn''t hurt matters any that I also love Varon's style. She's one of those deceptively simple artists. You feel a real and solid attachment to the creatures she''s created, no matter how odd they may seem. There's also a real emotional arc to the tale. For example the robot at one point dreams of the betrayal it would feel if the dog found a new robot to hang out with (as it does later in the story). The dog, for its part, finds a variety of different friends during its travels. Birds. Anteaters. A snowman that comes to such a subtle end that it makesRaymond Briggslook like a murderer in comparison. Varon spots her book with little shout-outs to her various interests and inspirations. Canny readers will notice that near the end the robot and its raccoon friend are reading books like "The Rabbi's Cat", by Joann Sfar. I was intrigued by this mention of a fellow
This item was reviewed in:
Kirkus Reviews,
Booklist, August 2007
Publishers Weekly, August 2007
Globe & Mail, September 2007
School Library Journal, September 2007
Boston Globe, March 2008
School Library Journal, April 2011
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
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.
Bowker Data Service Summary
Friendship. Betrayal. Healing. And moving on. 'Robot Dreams' depicts 12 months in dreams and quiet moments in the life of a dog and a robot.
Description for Library
The enduring friendship between a dog and a robot is portrayed in this wordless graphic novel.

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