Review of A Letter for Bob

A Letter for Bob A Letter for Bob
by Kim Rogers; illus. by Jonathan Nelson
Primary    Heartdrum/HarperCollins    32 pp.
9/23    9780063044555    $19.99

A Wichita girl, Katie, writes a letter to Bob, her family’s trustworthy white sedan, after it’s determined they need to trade it in for a larger vehicle. Katie describes how they cared for the car with tune-ups and fender-bender repairs and kept Bob clean and shiny. She reminisces about the many ways Bob helped her family: taking them to the hospital when little sister Jenna was born, going to the library, visiting friends, attending the Oklahoma State Fair and the Wichita Annual Dance, and getting to school—all were made possible by reliable Bob. Readers also experience trips to Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons, where Bob helps them speed away from a large moose. “You brought us there and back all in one piece.” Katie remembers journeys to Powwow, especially her first experience dancing as a tiny tot. The narrative of the many uses of Bob provides a universal story line with which many children can identify while also matter-of-factly incorporating activities specific to Indigenous families. The engaging illustrations show Bob as a standard car without eyes, mouth, or other human features, and yet Katie’s heartfelt narrative enables readers to imagine Bob as an actual family member. Appended with a glossary of Cherokee and Wichita terms.

From the November/December 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Naomi R. Caldwell

Naomi R. Caldwell, PhD, is an educator and a board member for the Center for the Study of Multicultural Children's Literature.

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