I finally made it to Ben Hatke’s last graphic novel – just in time for his next one, Mighty Jack, to come out on September 6.
Little Robot by Ben Hatke. First Second, 2015
This nearly wordless graphic novel follows a round young girl, who explores the area around her trailer park after the school bus takes away all the older children. She’s wearing what looks to be an adult t-shirt many sizes too large for her, but though she looks short on outside help, she’s very resourceful. Her first step is to find a tool bag she’s hidden in the dump, before heading off to explore nature and tinker with machines. When a robot falls off a passing truck, she’s able to put it together and get it working, building a friendship with the little robot of the title. But soon outside forces come to threaten the little robot…
Our heroine, the little robot, and all of their friends are just as adorable as we’ve come to expect from Ben Hatke’s work. It’s also wonderful to see a girl of color shown as so matter-of-factly scientifically minded. It can be tricky to keep wordless stories moving and making sense, but Hatke absolutely succeeds here. All four members of my family read and very much enjoyed this story of friendship and loyalty.
If you haven’t yet read Hatke’s Zita the Space Girl books, you should definitely do so. Those looking for more graphic novels about kids and science could also try Secret Coders by Gene Luen Yang and The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook by Eleanor Davis.