Robot Dreams, by Sara Varon. New York: First Second, 2007. 205 pp. ISBN 9781596431089
Now that Dog and Robot are separated, how will they each survive? Will they ever again feel as happy as they were together?
"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." (barnesandnoble.com synopsis)
Despite the fact that this novel is completely wordless, Varon tells a completely original story that really grabs at the heartstrings. We feel the pain of both Dog and Robot at the loss of their friendship, yet also the hope in the fact that life does go on. In soft browns, aquas, and other pastel colors, Varon communicates the characters' emotions vividly. The last few pages of this novel are very touching as one old friend gives another the ultimate gift in the form of music: a wish for him to remain happy. Potentially controversial element: graphic novel format.
HOW THIS BOOK HELPS
This novel could help teens who have drifted apart from a formerly close friends, letting them know that they will indeed make new friends.
WHY I CHOSE TO READ IT
I've always loved any anthropomorphic fiction, and I couldn't resist the cover drawing of a contented dog and robot sweetly smiling as they rowed along in a little boat.