Thursday, May 29, 2014

Bizarro Book Club: Robot Dreams

Well would you look at that, it's BIZARRO BOOK CLUB time again! Check out the last time we met. If you haven't seen a bizarro post, here are the logistics:
  • We both read the same book and then we came up with a set of questions that will allow us to discuss the book without really giving anything away for those of you who haven't read it.
  • We both answer each question and we think of our answers beforehand so as not to be influenced by the other person's ideas.
  • We do have a chance for rebuttal or additional commentary after we've read what the other person wrote.
  • If you've read the book and you want to weigh in with your own answers, reactions to ours, etc. we'd love that! Surely one of these days we'll read a book that one of you have also read.
This time around we read Robot Dreams by Sara Varon:

1- Which of the characters (Dog, Robot, Raccoon, Robot #2) did you most relate to?  Why?

Whit- There was a raccoon? I'm going to look at the book again…OH! Yup, it's a raccoon, and obviously that's not the one I relate to the most. I'd say Dog. I like how he goes through real life situations of loss and changes, yet he still tries to make the best of things and find happiness.  It's a good, wordless way of showing us how to look on the bright side.

Robyn- I must be kinda like Whitney… cause I think I relate to Dog too.  Lots of times I just don't know what to do to make things better.  But I really really want to.  At the same time, I just know that life goes on and am still (mostly) able to be happy and enjoy it.

2- In the story Dog builds Robot and they become great friends.  However at the beach Robot goes swimming and it makes him freeze up.  Dog is unable to fix him and ends up leaving him there.  How did you feel when Robot was left at the beach? (expound please)

Whit- This was AWFUL!!! Especially because Robot has these nightmares and some of them come to fruition! Plus I felt super bad for Dog because he feels all irresponsible and lonely and worried about Robot and he can't get back to him…it's sad.

Robyn- When I first read this book, my 4 year old daughter (Kitten) climbed up on my lap and asked me to read it to her.  We went through the whole story together and she was DEVASTATED by what happened to Robot.  She was so upset.  It really is emotionally wrenching.  And the emotions are so real.  I just thought the whole thing was very relatable to real life situations.  

Whit- Great, so I am now being compared to a 4 year old, emotionally…nice. :)  It's sad though, it really is.

Robyn- Kitten is one of my very favorite people, you should feel flattered!  haha

3- This graphic novel had almost no words, what did you think about reading a book with no words?  (What would you think about a student choosing a book like this to read?)

Whit- I really liked reading it! I would be totally fine with a student choosing this book.  It has a clear plot and conflict and their comprehension could easily be assessed just like with any other book-- which sometimes seems to be the school's focus of kids reading (SADLY!!!) True, it does not show or reflect reading level-- but every book a kid reads doesn't not need to prove their abilities, you know?  PLUS! There is some evidence that for kids on the Autistic spectrum, pictures are easier to process and a better way for them to retain information, so I think in that case graphic novels are a great tool!

Robyn- I'm amazed at Varon's ability to create such a strong story line through silent illustrations.  I felt like I was reading… and (like I said before) it was emotionally wrenching!  I really truly enjoyed reading it and kept thinking what a great tool books like this could be to students who aren't strong/confident readers.  They could be the thing to hook certain kids to reading.  (I also think strong/confident readers could learn a lot and really enjoy reading this book and/or others like it.)

Whit- Yep, ditto!

4- Rate this book using our super crazy bizarro scale:10 being a triple scoop ice cream and one being a can of wet dog food.

Whit- Hmmmm, I'm gonna give this a 8.75…I really thought it was fun and interesting and something different, which is always good in my book! BUT- I didn't like how it ended (because I never like how books end-- NO-- the end was fine I just wish it would have ended in a different way…and that's all I can say without giving anything away.)

Robyn- Well that's a specific number ;) I loved reading this book.  I'll give it a nice round 8.  I will also say that I thought the ending was very poignant and I wouldn't change a thing!  (Whit and I don't always agree… hehehe.)

Whit- We rarely agree on endings… actually what usually happens is you are okay with most endings and I am not-- except for Divergent which, ironically, I was okay with and you, not so much…probably because you warned me.  ANYWAY!  This is an 8.75 because I liked it better than other bizarro stuff I've rated at an 8.5 (I have a hard time rating things, remember?)

So, there you have it! Another truly bizarre Bizarro post! Anybody read this? Or do you have any thoughts on graphic novels?  For next time we've decided to read Half Magic by Edward Eager.

 I (Whit) am actually going to give it a go as a read aloud once school gets out…it feels like that day will never arrive. Anyway, perhaps you might want to get in on the bizarreness and add Half Magic to your summer reading list. If so, happy reading! (And if not, happy reading all the same!)

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