“The One and Only Bob” by Katherine Applegate is an absolute delight! Who would have thought that I, a 33-year-old teacher and author, would learn so many life lessons from a grumpy and selfish mutt, named Bob?
“The One and Only Bob” is the sequel to “The One and Only Ivan”, told from a first-person perspective (Bob, the dog). This novel is all about Bob’s journey from being a closed-off and self-regarding dog to learning how to open up his heart to those around him. All this self-revelation happens amidst a hurricane which has struck his city and the zoo where his two best friends (a gorilla, Ivan and an elephant, Ruby) live.
It’s obvious that Applegate is a dog-whisperer, because how else could a human know that much about what goes on in a dog’s head? This is a great novel, and I applaud Applegate for imparting so much wisdom into a pre-teen novel.
Recommended Age Group?
I agree with the publisher’s age recommendation (8-12). Although, 8-year-olds may not glean as much from the novel as intended. Waiting till 9 years of age might help the child to understand the themes and inferences on a deeper level.
One of the larger themes that crops up again and again is forgiveness, and whether someone is deserving of forgiveness when they’ve made big mistakes. How Bob begins to see the possibility of forgiveness in his own life is such a beautiful part of the plot, but to say anymore would be to give away spoilers. Applegate also weaves themes of friendship, loss, and distrust throughout her pages.
This book is definitely classroom approved! Kids will love the characters and find Bob’s blunt, street-dog-style of speaking absolutely hilarious! This book will spark the imagination and get kids thinking about their own pets. It definitely made me think about my cat and what he must be thinking on a daily basis.
Consider this book a must for middle-school classroom shelves!
Check out the Novel Study for Katherine Applegate's "The One and Only Bob"!