Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Robot and the Bluebird

The Robot and the Bluebird
by David Lucas
first published in Great Britain by Andersen Press Ltd., 2007
Farrar Straus Giroux, October, 2008
review copy provided by the publisher

This is a very sweet book.  It is a fable about a robot with a broken heart. Literally broken.  But as the story unfolds, the literal broken heart -- the hole in his chest where his heart used to be -- becomes a figurative broken heart as well.  A bluebird flying south that is caught in cold weather is invited to take shelter in the robot's chest where his broken heart used to be.  He can feel his heart fluttering, his heart now sings, and when the bluebird flies a little way, Robot feels like his heart is flying.

When it doesn't look like the bluebird can make it south on her own, Robot carries her in his heart, sacrificing everything to get her to the sunshine, where she lives in his heart forever.

I haven't tried this book on a kid audience, but I'm thinking they'll respond to the unlikely friendship between the geometrically-drawn yet emotive robot and the tiny soft bluebird. They'll cheer for the robot to overcome all obstacles to get the bluebird to the sunshine, and they'll feel the bittersweetness of the ending.

Even if this book flops with kids, it will make a great gift book for someone you will hold in your heart forever, someone who has made great sacrifices for you.

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