“Bob, Not Bob!” is written by Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick and very ably illustrated by Matthew Cordell, and it comes with instructions right on the front cover: “To be read as though you have the worst cold ever.”
And the title says it all. Does little Louie want his mom, or is he calling for his dog, Bob? Only Louie knows, although the illustrator cleverly gives readers a clue as to which one is the intended recipient of the “Bob!” call. Bob, aka “Mom” in cold-speak, is shown with the center of the “O” drawn as a heart, while the dog Bob is not.
Poor little Louie has a terrible cold! And even though he’s old enough that he doesn’t need his mom for everything, when he’s sick and feeling out of sorts, he wants her. The problem is that his cold is so bad, he can’t say “Mom,” instead it comes out sounding like “Bob,” which just happens to be the dog’s name.
The dog is obviously very sweet and loving (and slobbery). Everyone should have a dog like Bob. Every time that Louie calls out, his faithful dog comes running. Poor Louie. Poor Bob. Poor Mom.
The ending is pitch perfect and just wonderfully touching, and Cordell captures the contentment on the faces of the three — Mom, Louie, and yes, Bob — as they snuggle sweetly on the bed, together.
This is the perfect story for any child suffering from a cold, and even one who isn’t. It would be fun to talk with kids about how different people sound with colds. For teachers, a great classroom activity would be for the students to make up their own “Bob” book!
Please note: this review is based on the final, hardcover book provided by the publisher, Disney-Hyperion, for review purposes.