Bob by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead

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Our Score

Because I loved Rebecca Stead’s novel, When You Reach Me, I picked up Bob, hoping I would like it just as much.  Yes and no.

By page 11, ten-year-old Livy is talking about zombies. Hmmm. I don’t do zombies. I don’t like dark, ugly, creepy stories.  But the cover was so cute. It didn’t seem to be about the walking dead. I soldiered on.

And I’m glad I did.

Bob is a sweet, fantastical fairy tale and well worth the read as we follow the theme of searching for home and family.

Synopsis

Livy has returned to visit her grandmother in Australia after not seeing her for five years. All she remembers is that something important is in her bedroom closet.

Bob is… I don’t know how to describe Bob. Sort of like ET in a chicken suit? He has remained in the closet, waiting for Livy for five long years. When the two meet again, he must teach her all the things she forgot, and now that she’s older, she may be able to help him find his mom.

As they search for clues together, Livy realizes no adults ever see Bob, even when he’s caught out in the open. Unlike other stories, though, the authors leave it up to the reader whether he is a figment of children’s imaginations or absolutely real.

Pros

  1. The theme. Everyone loves a story where the main character is trying to get home.
  2. Livy’s and Bob’s voices. While Livy is always respectful of others, the voice inside her head has an appealing sassy style. And Bob is analytical. He’s had plenty of time to think.

Cons

  1. Other reviewers have found the story confusing, and I agree there are elements that made me stop and go back and make sure I understood what happened ten pages previous.
  2. While the ending is satisfying and logical (for a fantasy), it still falls a little flat. I love the last line though.

Discussion Questions

  1. Who or what is Bob?
  2.  Why can’t grown-ups see Bob?
  3. What is the connection between the drought and Bob?
  4. Do you think Bob and Livy will meet again?

Conclusion

As you can see, even with a couple of “cons,” I’m still willing to give this a 4.5 because the main characters are so endearing.  Definitely worth getting to know them!

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Linda Samaritoni
Linda Samaritoni, writing as Linda Sammaritan, has her feet firmly on the ground and her mind reaching for heaven. Each day is an adventure on her journey with Jesus. After a career teaching middle-graders, Linda loves to write contemporary and historical stories for the same age group. She also loves to jot down metaphors within spiritual ideas. Check out her other blog and author website www.lindasammaritan.com.

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