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The Robot and the Bluebird


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A moving story about the power of friendship and selflessness, in this poetic homage to The Happy Prince.

About the Author

David Lucas was born in 1966 in Middlesborough, in the north of England. He grew up in Hackney, in East London, and studied illustration at the Royal College of Art. He lives and works in London.


PreS-Gr 3-"There once was a Robot with a broken heart," begins this metaphorical story that's likely to appeal more to adults than to children. The other robots cannot fix him, so he ends up on the junk heap. A tired, shivering Bluebird (of happiness, perhaps?) comes along, prompting the Robot to shelter her and carry her South, until he breaks down. Respecting the Robot's dying request, the Bluebird makes a nest in his heart, "And the Robot stands there still.home every year to singing birds." Lucas's complex, fantastical illustrations are full of little details that will attract readers' attention. The Robot's home and junk heap are satisfyingly mechanical and futuristic-looking, and the passage of time is effectively portrayed through a series of four panels of the Robot in day, night, rain, and snow. The layout sustains interest through variety, including insets, full-bleed spreads, and the varying use of panels. Lucas uses color effectively to reflect the protagonist's emotions, with black and whites giving way to color washes after the bird's arrival. The economical text reads smoothly. Unfortunately, the message is heavy-handed and unlikely to speak to children. The lovely illustrations notwithstanding, most libraries can pass.-Amy Lilien-Harper, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

A Tin Man-like robot with a broken heart finds purpose in one of two books this fall by Lucas (Halibut Jackson) to feature an ingenuous creature navigating an uncertain world (the other is Candlewick's Peanut, about a confused monkey). In a depersonalized factory, working robots attempt to fix what remains of the central character's heart--two springs and an open door--before sending him to the scrap heap with "all the other old machines." When snow falls, a bluebird lands on his shoulder, and the robot builds her a nest in the space where his heart used to be. Rejuvenated, the robot carries the bluebird south across industrial wastelands to rejoin her multicolored flock. In characteristically elaborate, warmly lit illustrations, Lucas uses sharp geometrical forms as the basis for his urban scenes; against this backdrop, the bird's more organic form is a welcome contrast. Even with a corny line or two, this book's genuine sweetness will easily win over readers.Ages 4-up. (Nov.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

"Beautifully illustrated story about a robot whose broken heart is healed by the companionship of a little bluebird" * Nursery World *
"Offbeat talent in a world reminiscent of Tim Burton's." * Observer *
"A poignant book...It's simple pictures steer the story away from sentimentality, and its readers will take a while to grow out of it." * Telegraph *
"This is (excuse the pun) a real heart warmer of a book." * Junior Education Plus *
"This is one of the finest children's picture books I have had the pleasure of reading in a very long time." * Junior Education Plus *

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