87 pages 2 hours read

Peter Brown

The Wild Robot

Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 2016

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Summary and Study Guide


The Wild Robot is the story of Roz, a newly manufactured robot who becomes a castaway on an island with no human inhabitants when the ship transporting her sinks during a hurricane. The other crates holding the robot cargo are destroyed, but Roz remains the sole survivor. When she is accidentally activated by some curious otters, Roz awakens to find there is no one there to assign tasks to her. She is free to explore the island and needs to learn how to survive.

Roz learns how to camouflage herself, and by observing the animals of the island she learns how to speak and understand their language. The animals all fear her and call her a monster. Roz accidentally causes a rock slide that kills a family of geese, though one lone egg survives. Roz decides that she cannot let that gosling die, so she protects the egg until it hatches. Since she does not know how to care for a gosling, she seeks out other geese. An old goose named Loudwing appreciates Roz’s compassion and she advises Roz on how to care for the gosling, which she names Brightbill.

Some animals are more willing to help Roz adapt to life on the island now that she is the adopted mother of Brightbill. Mr. Beaver agrees to build Roz and Brightbill a lodge and a deer named Tawny shows Roz how to plant a garden that will encourage other animals to meet the robot. As more animals get to know Roz, they see that she is friendly and eager to be a good neighbor.

As Brightbill grows, he is bothered by other goslings teasing him for having a “monster” mother. Roz teaches him that despite their differences, she is devoted to his care. Brightbill accepts and cherishes their “strange” family. Along with Brightbill’s best friend, Chitchat the squirrel, the pair enjoys a fine summer. Two young bears attack Roz, but when she in turn saves the life of one of the cubs, Mother Bear becomes Roz’s friend.

Brightbill matures and prepares to migrate with the flock for the winter, though he is sad to leave Roz. Once alone, Roz does not know what to do with herself and she enters a hibernation-like state. She awakens to find that the winter is uncharacteristically severe, with deadly levels of snow and cold. Roz offers the animals shelter in her lodge, heated by fire. She builds many other lodges around the island to accommodate many more animals. When one of the lodges ignites, the animals develop a new understanding of the power of fire.

Roz saves many animals during the winter, which finally turns to spring. Brightbill returns with the flock, which became lost during the unexpectedly early snow. Brightbill became their leader and discovered many interesting and dangerous places during their detour, including the factory where Roz was built.

In gratitude for having been taught how to be a “wild” robot, Roz invites all the animals to a party with a huge bonfire. A ship spies the bonfire light. As a result, an airship arrives on the island, with three RECOS combat robots aboard. They have been ordered to retrieve missing robots from the cargo ship, including Roz. When she refuses to go with them, they threaten to deactivate her. The geese attack the RECOS and Roz escapes into the forest.

The RECOS, carrying rifles, hunt for Roz in many areas of the island. Two of the RECOS are destroyed by the animals, who coordinate their efforts to protect Roz. The last RECOS catches up with Roz and they struggle with his rifle, which explodes, blowing off Roz’s limbs. The RECOS deactivates her. As the RECOS collects the other damaged robot parts, Brightbill sneaks in and reactivates Roz. The RECOS is about to crush Brightbill when vultures deposit a rifle taken from one of the other RECOS onto the shore. The geese know how to fire the rifle and the otters push the trigger. The RECOS is destroyed in the blast, though he first warns Roz that the Makers will send more robots for her.

Roz, now just a head and torso, decides that she must return to her Makers so that she can be repaired. Brightbill and the other animals are devastated that she must leave, but they understand that she has no other choice. Roz flies away in the airship, thinking back on her remarkable past. She plans to get the repairs she needs, escape from her Makers, and return to the island.

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By Peter Brown

Study Guide


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