Guide/Reviews Database
INTERMEDIATE FICTION
Applegate, Katherine

The One and Only Bob

(2) 4-6 Illustrated by Patricia Castelao. 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.

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