One and Only Bob (The One and Only Bob)


What can you say when someone gives you an amazing gift?  For sure you can tell them thank you.  So here's a huge thank you to Katherine Applegate who is using her special superpowers to write books for children that really matter.  Dang it all, they really matter.

This time she's skipped away from the gang from Wishtree and returned to the world of the One and Only Ivan.  Maybe you remember that one?  This one is about the dog named Bob.  He's a little guy but he believes in being feisty.  This tough little guy was put in a box and thrown out a car window when he was just a pup.  He was on his own until he and Julia found each other and Julia took Bob home to be her own dog when Ivan went to the zoo with Ruby.

So, Bob is a little toughie with a dog's amazing powers of hearing and a dog's amazing power to find things via his nose.  He is so tough he isn't going to forgive the people who threw him and his brothers and sisters away.  He isn't going to trust.  He is going to expect things to go badly.

It's really hard to forgive yourself when you let down someone you care about and it's really hard to let go of the anger you feel when someone hurts you so deeply that it makes you stop trusting the possibility that your life can be good. 

Bob's got both of these hard things living in him.  He loves Ivan the gorilla and he loves Ruby, the baby elephant.  He knows he has it good with Julia.  But he never really lets himself trust that he can be close to someone else and that he can trust the world to treat him with kindness and maybe even love.

I wonder which one of us is so lucky that he/she/they doesn't really connect with how Bob feels?  I wonder who out there hasn't been betrayed or abandoned by someone in life?  I wonder which of us thinks we could have done better, so much better, when something happened to someone we love.

This is a beautiful, deeply moving, simply written story that flies.  Katherine Applegate didn't weigh this story down with a lot of words.  She gave it just enough words and she gave it all the heart and empathy and human understanding she could - and she did all that through a dog... a small dog. This is a dog who deserved a good life with good people.

So, what happens you are wondering.  Well, Bob sets the scene for us so we understand where he lives, how he got there and you get to meet some of his friends in the 'hood.  You also get to feel how Bob only lets his feelings skim around like something dancing on Teflon. He doesn't dare let them stick.  He doesn't dare.

When Bob goes to the zoo one day with his friend, Julia, to see his old friends, Ivan and Ruby, the weather forecast takes a nosedive.  Things don't go well at the zoo.  Bob is going to be asked to find his toughest, his most powerful version of himself so he can work some miracles.

Wild animals it turns out are filled with compassion and love and they show up for each other the way human beings can show up for each other.

Grab the tissue box.  This book only took me about an hour and a half to read - it flies, it really flies - but it's going to ask something of you and you will be so, so grateful to have met these characters.

You will be so grateful that Katherine Applegate understands and can write it into an amazing adventure about the one and only Bob.  A book you've needed for a long, long time.

352 pages 978-0062991317 Ages 8-12

Keywords: dogs, friends, friendship, gorilla, elephant, zoo, hurricane, empathy, tornado, forgiveness, courage, helping others, sister, abandonment, trust, healing, love, letting go, 8 year old, 9 year old, 10 year old, 11 year old, 12 year old, sequel

Recommended by:  Barb Langridge,

********** Return to the unforgettable world of the Newbery Medal-winning and #1 New York Times bestselling novel The One and Only Ivan (soon to be a major motion picture!) in this incredible sequel, starring Ivan’s friend Bob!

Bob sets out on a dangerous journey in search of his long-lost sister with the help of his two best friends, Ivan and Ruby. As a hurricane approaches and time is running out, Bob finds courage he never knew he had and learns the true meaning of friendship and family.

Bob, Ivan, and Ruby have touched the hearts of millions of readers, and their story isn’t over yet. Catch up with these beloved friends before the star-studded film adaptation of The One and Only Ivan hits theaters in August 2020!---from the publisher


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(Updated: January 27, 2021)
An amazingly, heartfelt story. I read "The One and Only Ivan" and I love getting to hear the story from Bob's point of view. Great job, Katherine Applegate! A work of art!
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