Book review by
Jan Carr, Common Sense Media
Bob Book Poster Image
Sensitive, suspenseful story of girl's little green friend.

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Books figure prominently in the story, including a collection of fairy tales and the dictionary. Some specific kids' titles named: Half Magic, Alice in Wonderland, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. Concept of drought and its effect on terrain and communities. Concept of time capsule. Mention of chess moves. Geography: the distance from Massachusetts to Australia is cleverly explained by listing all the many legs of the trip.

Positive Messages

It's good to be seen and heard and understood by others. Fantasy can comfort us. We're watched over and helped and protected. Having fears is a normal part of childhood. Many children comfort themselves by imagining friends. As you get older, it's still OK to enjoy the things you liked when you were younger.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Livy has some fears and phobias, but devised an imaginative way to comfort and support herself. Bob and Livy look out for each other and are sensitive to each other's needs. The adults, including the mom and grandmother, are caring. When a child in the community goes missing, everyone turns out to scour the bush for him.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Bob is co-written by Rebecca Stead and Wendy Mass, a formidable kids' book duo. Stead won the Newbery Medal for her compelling When You Reach Me, and Mass has written numerous novels for the age group, including her bestselling series The Candymakers. Bob is the story of a 10-year-old girl visiting her grandmother in Australia, and features a strange little green creature whom Livy at first struggles to remember from her last visit five years before. There are mysteries afoot, prime among them, who's the little green guy? The story is astute about the fears and challenges kids face growing up, and because it's set in the Australian bush during a severe drought, it also touches on environmental themes.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 6 and 9-year-old Written byLinda R. August 22, 2018

Sweetly moving

My daughter devoured this book, and I heard her laughing uproariously while reading. When she finished, she felt compelled to share the entire plot with me. She... Continue reading
Parent of a 7 and 9-year-old Written byTaranakiFamily August 19, 2018

Gorgeous story

The book was hard to put down. Easy to read and captured my 9 yo girls attention even though it has less pictures than other chapter books she enjoys. It was ne... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byTheoutsider2019 November 1, 2019

not my favorite

This book has really good ratings but I just didn't really enjoy it. It might just be because it is fantasy. It also switched perspectives. It was an or... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bySunMeadow June 29, 2019

Cute Story

This book has to be one of my new favorite books. It's such a cute little story with so many great messages including the importance of childhood, friendsh... Continue reading

What's the story?

In BOB, when 10-year-old Livy travels to Australia to visit her grandmother for the first time in five years, she's surprised to find a little green zombie in a chicken suit living in her closet. He introduces himself as Bob, and though Livy struggles to remember him, he remembers her vividly and has been waiting for her return. Livy's a bit anxious when her mom leaves her alone at Gran's, but determines to help Bob find out where he came from and how he might return. Little by little, she recalls coming to, sopping wet in the chicken coop, but neither can remember how that might've happened. Side plots about the effect of drought on Gran's rural community, and a friendship Livy rekindles with a local girl round out the story.

Is it any good?

This emotionally resonant book has smart, snappy narration and a strong fantasy element, but also manages to read like a highly suspenseful, page-turning mystery. Bob is written in the first person, with alternating chapters by two narrators, 10-year-old Livy and Bob, the little green man who's burrowed away in her closet. Both narrators have a breezy, colloquial delivery infused with humor, making them fun to read. For instance, when Livy suggests a bath, Bob resists, saying, "It's been five years. What's another few days?"

But it's the suspense that keeps readers turning the pages. Livy's not sure she remembers Bob from her visit years ago, but memories seep back slowly. Readers are kept wondering: Who is Bob? Is he real? Can other people see him? Why does Livy sometimes forget about him? When she was little, did he save her or did she save him? Other mysteries pop up, too. Why's Livy afraid to stay at sleepovers? And what happened when she last visited her grandmother? At points, readers may fear that something seriously traumatic happened, but no worries, the challenges Livy has weathered end up being the normal bumps of growing up. The book also has imaginative illustrations by Nicholas Gannon.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the mysteries in Bob. Who did you think Bob was? Did you have different theories? Did they change as you were reading? Were there other mysteries in the story you were trying to figure out?

  • Why do you think Livy likes having Bob as a friend? Why do you think she forgets him sometimes? Why do you think she needed him?

  • Do the chapters told by Bob have a different voice than the ones told by Livy? Do you think the two authors might've been responsible for writing the two different characters? Do you think it would be harder or easier to write a book with a friend?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy and mystery

Themes & Topics

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