Review of The One and Only Bob

The One and Only Bob
by Katherine Applegate; illus. by Patricia Castelao
Intermediate    Harper/HarperCollins    338 pp.    g
5/20    978-0-06-299131-7    $18.99

Applegate revisits the beloved cast of characters from her Newbery Medal–winning The One and Only Ivan (rev. 1/12), but this time from a different viewpoint. Bob, the tenacious mutt (“some Chihuahua, with a smidgen of papillon”) who befriended gorilla Ivan and baby elephant Ruby in the first book, narrates: he has a wisecracking voice akin to that of a hardboiled fictional detective, and the text is broken up on the pages with the look and rhythm of prose poems. (“Look, nobody’s ever accused me of being a good dog. / I bark at empty air. I eat cat litter. I roll in garbage to enhance my aroma. / …I’m no saint, okay?”). Like Ivan and Ruby, who now live in a nearby animal sanctuary (after being rescued from a dismal mall exhibit in the previous book), Bob’s life has taken a turn for the better: he’s been adopted by a family after many years of being a stray. In truth, his crusty exterior belies puppyhood trauma. When a hurricane strikes and devastates the sanctuary during one of Bob’s visits, those past demons come to the surface, giving Applegate the opportunity to explore the novel’s themes of forgiveness, redemption, and heroism. A playful canine glossary (“head tilt: quizzical look employed to charm gullible humans”) and expressive spot illustrations further enhance the appeal of this sequel.

From the July/August 2020 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Jonathan Hunt
Jonathan Hunt is the coordinator of library media services at the San Diego County Office of Education.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


RELATED 

Community matters. Stay up to date on breaking news, trends, reviews, and more.

Get access to reviews of books, ebooks, and more