Recommended for readers 7-11
Livy is heading to Australia with her mother and new baby sister, BethAnn, to spend time with her grandmother. The last time she was in Australia was five years ago, so she’s a bit anxious about being back; she’s also anxious because her mother is going away for a few days to spend time with friends once she gets there. Once Livy arrives, she’s even more anxious when she doesn’t really remember much about Australia – and she certainly doesn’t remember Bob, the greenish, kinda zombie-looking thing she finds in the closet once she gets there. Bob remembers Livy, though; he’s been waiting for five years for her to come back. The two re-explore their friendship and try to remember how to get Bob back home in this celebration of friendship, the environment, and the magic of childhood.
When two award-winning authors like Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead collaborate on a book, you just know it’s going to be something amazing, and Bob is. Told in alternating first-person chapters, we get each characters’ point-of-view as the story progresses, which also fills in valuable backstory. Livy is a relatable character, dealing with anxiety: there’s a new baby in the family, she’s got separation anxiety about her mom, and her grandmother and neighbors are living through a five-year drought that’s killing their town and their livelihoods. Bob is sweet and funny, loyal to a fault, and gives his spark to Livy; to give her hope, to rekindle their friendship, to bring back the “old Livy”. I can’t get into too much without giving spoilers, and you don’t want that with this book. So let me just say that Bob is wonderful middle-grade storytelling that embraces imagination and joy. I can’t wait to see an illustrated version (my ARC didn’t have any). (Psst… would also make a good Earth Day reading assignment for next year.)
There’s been a lot of buzz about Bob lately: SLJ and Publisher’s Weekly gave it starred reviews, and you can read author interviews at The Horn Book and Publisher’s Weekly. You can download an excerpt see artwork that will melt your heart, and learn how to start a Bob book club at the Bob and Livy website.