‘The One and Only Bob’ by Katherine Applegate; When a dog, a gorilla, and an elephant are best friends


Remember Bob, the scrawny little dog with lots of bravado who was Ivan and Ruby’s buddy in “The One and Only Ivan“? Well, author Katherine Applegate decided that Bob deserved his own story, and “The One and Only Bob” is this survivor’s tale.

First, let’s be clear about one thing: Bob is NOT a good dog. Sure, he’s loving and appreciates his two square meals a day, but don’t expect him to listen or obey commands like “sit” or “leave it.” He’s the first to say that he’s a street dog, and he’s proud of it. His opinion of Hachiko, the dog who waited at the train station for his owner for nine years? “That dog was a ninny. A numskull. A nincompoop.”

Bob has no use for dummies. He also has no use for Snickers, the fancy French poodle who adores him. He prefers complaining to Nutwit, the gray squirrel who lives nearby. But Bob also has a dark past he alludes to. He talks about “a black highway” and “an empty box” and we know that those things bring up dark thoughts about a terrible and mysterious time in Bob’s past.

But now he lives with Julia and her parents, and because her father George now works at the zoo, Bob gets to visit with Ivan and Ruby, his best friends from the shopping mall where Ivan had lived for almost thirty years. Well, a storm is coming into town, and it’s making Bob a bit jumpy. He and Julia go to visit at the zoo, but before they know it, a hurricane has turned their lives topsy turvy. Animals get loose, Julia and George are nowhere to be seen, and Bob doesn’t know if Ivan is alive or dead.

Right in the middle of all the chaos, and when they are still in the path of the hurricane, Bob hears something that takes him back to his puppy days. And then Bob decides that for once, he’s going to be brave and do something heroic.

So Bob goes on a journey. He finds unexpected challenges and unexpected help. And he finds that he has a depth of courage that he didn’t know existed. Kids and adults alike will love Bob’s clever and self-deprecating narrative. Unlike Ivan, Bob doesn’t know how to paint a pretty picture — he just tells it like it is. And sometimes, it’s not a happy story.

Will Bob be able to make his story have a happy ending? Will they all survive the hurricane? Will Bob be reunited with his family? Applegate takes readers on an unforgettable adventure as they battle wind, water, and other obstacles, and we’re right at Bob’s side as he searches for his family. Don’t miss your chance to be a part of this miraculous story.

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