By Peter Brown
Roz the robot (otherwise known as ROZZUM Unit 7134) is the sole surviving robot of a cargo of 500 lost at sea after a hurricane. When Roz’s crate washes ashore on an island, otters play with her protective packaging and accidentally push the button which activates the robot. As the robot opens her eyes, she announces “You may call me Roz”. This unexpected pronouncement terrifies the sea otters who think this unknown creature is a monster. Roz is confused by her presence on the island but her robot brain is programmed to learn and master tasks. In other words, she is programmed to survive. This is, of course, a handy trait to have when lost on a remote island. Equipped with the human senses of sight, smell, touch and hearing, Roz observes and learns and becomes more and more acclimated to life on the island. But she is lonely as the island’s animal residents fear her and stay away from her. Due to her powers of learning and observation, Roz is eventually able to learn the language of the wild creatures (each species with its different “accent”) which enables her to ask the other animals for their help when a terrible accident occurs.
As Roz becomes acclimated to life on the island, the island’s creatures adjust to their new neighbor who ultimately becomes their friend. Life settles into a happy routine for the animals and Roz until environmental and technological dangers threaten the island community.
Middle grade readers who enjoy robot and/or animal stories with a taste of adventure will enjoy this delightful story of a robot with very human attributes and the difference she makes to her island home.
Peter Brown’s striking gray-scale illustrations complement the story and set the atmosphere for this unique novel.
Recommended by Connie (Parr Library)