A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Resourceful kid shows what can be done with a little mechanical know-how.
Friendship transcends -- and can be strengthened by -- differences. It's normal to want to belong to something bigger than you. Our love for others can inspire us to bravery. Different friends share different interests, and we can make room for diverse relationships. Many problems can be fixed with curiosity, ingenuity, and a willingness to try.
Positive Role Models
Little girl takes a chance and forges a strong friendship. She patiently teaches the robot about the world and goes to great lengths to try to help him feel happy and at home with her. Characters are given second chances to be kinder.
Violence & Scariness
A menacing robot pursues its prey, consumes an animal, and leaves a trail of destruction; a chance encounter with a dead squirrel; arguments among friends.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know Little Robot is a graphic novel by Ben Hatke (Zita the Spacegirl) that centers on a lonely, resourceful little girl and an equally lonely little robot. The young heroine is refreshingly unconventional: non-white, not very well-off, and brilliant with tools. A large, fearsome machine chases the robot and gobbles up a cat, and there's a scene where the robot pauses by a dead squirrel in the woods. Before she meets the robot, the little girl doesn't appear to have caring, attentive adults or friends in her life -- she seems wary of the grown-ups around her. There is very little dialogue in the book -- it's a lengthy but absorbing option for beginning readers.
Is It Any Good?
Loneliness and longing get lovely treatment in this nearly wordless book by Ben Hatke, who's created another gem of a heroine with the barefoot, nameless, wrench-wielding brown-skinned girl. She's the heart of LITTLE ROBOT, striking out on her own in pursuit of adventure and finding an unusual friend.
There's little dialogue: Many pages pass without words, punctuated only by the "jonk" and "pling" of machines or the mewlings of a cat. Hatke packs in lively action sequences and ominous suspense but also takes advantage of opportunities to pause along the way: to soak up a sunset, feel the rumble of a passing train, or quietly observe a dead squirrel. The little girl's expressive face is an understated marvel -- guarded, joyful, soft and open, friendly, fierce. She's a charming flag-bearer for creative, independent spirits ... who make wonderful friends.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.