New review of the graphic novel by Ben Hatke, Little Robot.
Friendship and Changing Girl Stereotypes in Stories
Graphic novels are becoming more and more popular at younger ages and its easy to see way. Little Robot by Ben Hatke, a writer, artist, author of graphic novels, has created a touching early chapter graphic novel that will appeal to your little one centred around the budding friendship of a little girl and a little robot. This graphic novel also breaks the typical image or stereotype of a girl in a story. This girl likes to tinker with tools and make things. Graphic novels tell us a story through its illustrations with very few words so even your most reluctant reader can pick up this book and enjoy.
Little Robot by Ben Hatke
Little robot falls out of a delivery truck and floats down a river in a box until a young girl discovers it and opens it. From the opening introduction of the girl she appears different as she sneaks out of her home in a trailer and is laughed at by kids loading onto a school bus. She wanders through neighbours yards and finds herself in the local dump area where she finds a used tool belt and puts it on.
Don’t you just love that you have this image of a girl with a tool belt? She has a special talent for fixing things. She finds the box the little robot is in and opens it and repairs him. At first she is scared and afraid of the robot but then she begins to help him walk again. We also learn that another strange looking robot has been sent out looking for little robot as it has been discovered that he did not arrive at the warehouse.
The next few chapters show us the blooming friendship between the little robot and the little girl. They explore her world and she introduces him to the wonders she finds around her everyday, but every night she must return home and he must sleep out in the forest by himself. Even though the friendship is blooming, it doesn’t take long for little robot to feel lonely and want others like himself. We experience their first fight in their friendship when little robot attempts to talk to an old junk jeep but the little girl wants him to go search for puffballs.
Wow! I remember puffballs as a kid, so much fun. We live in the city and my kids had no idea what a puffball was so I had to explain. Perhaps this summer we will also have to go exploring in our natural environment for puffballs.
While the two friends are separated the little girl begins to worry about her friend and arrives back just in time to find him as the Big Robot was about to take her new friend. They escape and run and hide. The little girl and the robot despite not speaking the same language are able to communicate with each other and the little robot expresses that he understands that he is different from the girl and wants to find more like himself. The little girl does not like this as little robot seems to be the only friend she has so she tricks the little robot and locks him a cage and through tears tells him ‘now you have to stay’.
The next day the little girl has a plan. She will create more little robots just like her friend. She rummages through the dump pile and makes a couple of robots and then brings little robot back to see them. At first little robot wants nothing to do with her but she tells him ‘you are not alone’ and he seems to understand her and follows her. He attempts to talk to these new robots and shake their hands but quickly realizes that they are not real. He then gets angry and storms off.
It starts raining and little robot gets captured by the Big Robot that was sent looking for him. The little girl searches frantically for him and discovers the warehouse where he was taken.
In the final chapters of the graphic novel the little girl and little robot defeat the Big Robot using her skill with tools and their love for their friendship and a little help from some new friends.
This graphic novel is a wonderful introduction to graphic novels, especially for girls, as it breaks the stereotype of girls portrayed in stories. Here is a little girl a little different, perhaps by the way she looks and her social economic background and for her special skill set for using tools. A beautiful story about the value of friendship, helping others and being true to yourself.
For more by Ben Hatke visit him at his website.
*This book was provided to me from Raincoast Books in order to facilitate this review. All the opinions are my own and I only review books and post about them if I feel like they will be of value to my readers, or if my children or myself enjoyed them. You can read my full Disclosure Policy here.
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