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The book BOB was written by both Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead, two highly acclaimed award-winning authors, leaving readers who have followed these writers in literature with very high expectations. Their book BOB will not leave those expectations disappointed.

Readers will be riveted right from the beginning as almost 11-year-old Livy steps back into a setting of her grandmother’s farm in Australia where she has not been since she was five years old. Despite being told she has a lot of great memories on the farm and being shown objects that should be familiar to her, Livy can’t remember anything. This alone doesn’t seem that strange, but Livy suddenly has a vague idea that she should go up to her bedroom to check out something on her own and that’s when she finds Bob, a small green creature in her bedroom closet. Bob had been waiting for her there for the since she left five years ago.

"Mass and Stead’s BOB really is a beautiful book full of mystery and a unique sense of magical awe. It is the kind of book one doesn't just read, as it introduces the reader to a world they can fully experience...."

Since the narration starts five years after this creature appeared and this is the starting point of the story, it adds an air of mystery that really hooks the reader. The two characters try to piece together what creature Bob is, where he came from and why neither of them can remember.

It also makes sense to start the story at this point as 10-year-old Livy would be more interested in finding answers than when she was five and just accepted the existence of a magical creature. This idea is illustrated through a young neighbor, Danny, who is shown believing and accepting magical creatures throughout the story. This is just one of the interesting ongoing themes in BOB that make this story and its magical elements unique.

Mass and Stead also accomplish bringing this magical creature to life in a way that gives him real emotion. Readers will not only be able to relate to the things Livy is going through, such as gaining a new sibling, having separation anxiety and trying to piece together her past, but --- despite the fact that he’s an unknown little green creature --- readers will also be able to sympathize with Bob. Bob lists all the ways he spent his time while Livy was gone and gets jealous of other friendships that might interfere with their relationship in a manner that allows the reader to see he really cares about Livy and lives with a deep sadness.

This story does leave the reader wanting more. This could be seen as a good thing if a sequel is coming out, or it could be seen as this book’s one shortcoming. It’s exciting and fun to discover pieces of the story with Livy and Bob, but much of the conclusions about what happened to Bob and Livy in the past are still speculation by the end of the book. While there is enough information for readers to draw their own conclusions much of the text is still pretty open ended. However, perhaps this is just a personal longing for more of such a great story.

Also, the advanced reader’s copy did not include the illustrations by Nicholas Gannon that will be included in the final book. It will be interesting to see what these drawings will add to the narration and if they add more satisfaction to the book. As visual literature becomes trendier, illustrations can really add a lot to the text and with them included this book may become more satisfying.

Mass and Stead’s BOB really is a beautiful book full of mystery and a unique sense of magical awe. It is the kind of book one doesn't just read, as it introduces the reader to a world they can fully experience that otherwise they may only meet in a whimsical dream.

Reviewed by Angela Warsinske on May 29, 2018

by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead