I MUST Have Bobo!, by Eileen Rosenthal, is a humorous testimonial to the affection that preschoolers have for their favorite stuffed animals. Young Willy wakes up to find his stuffed monkey, Bobo, missing. He panics. He cries (in bold lettering):
"I NEED Bobo!"
He recalls several of the ways in which Bobo helps him to get through the day, like holding Willy's hand when they walk past "that big dog". And then he finds his cat, Earl, curled up under a blanket with Bobo. But Bobo's rescue doesn't last for long, and the rest of the book features a battle of wills between Willy and Earl over the possession of Bobo.
The thing that I love about this book is that it rings true. Willy's search for Bobo, and interaction with Bobo, reads just like the games that I play with my own toddler. Like when Willy checks the kitchen cabinet, and the dishwasher, and under the rug, looking for Bobo, going "Earl, do you have Bobo in there?" or "Maybe he was stolen by pirates!". And the way Willy reacts when he finds Bobo at the end of the book, with the simple statement "Here's my Bobo", and a big, security-inducing, hug.
Any child who has ever had a beloved blanket or stuffed animal will be able to relate to that search all around the house, looking for the lost security talisman. The fact that Bobo is lost because of the interference of the cat lends humor, and gives the book a plot.
Marc Rosenthal's illustrations are simple, with a comic strip feel. They suit the tone of the book. Willy's panic when he declares "I NEED Bobo!" comes through clearly, as does his anger at Earl (Willy's mouth and eyebrows, dark lines, indicate his displeasure). Preschoolers will laugh at the various locations in the book in which Earl can be seen making off with Bobo, even as Willy is oblivious.
Willy's activities are all preschooler-friendly, as he draws, plays with blocks, and picks the raisins out of his cereal. I MUST Have Bobo! is a book that I think preschoolers, and their parents, will enjoy. Although the actual battle between Willy and Earl over Bobo might not be exactly realistic, Willy's day-to-day activities and his reactions have a core authenticity to them. They feel true. Plus, "Bobo" is fun to say.
I MUST Have Bobo! would make a good companion book to Jez Alborough's Hug, which also features a monkey named Bobo. I MUST Have Bobo! would be a great addition to any preschooler's book collection and a fun read-aloud for storytime. Highly recommended, and destined to be a family favorite.
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (@SimonKidsYA)
Publication Date: January 25, 2011
Source of Book: Bought it, after reading a library copy for the Cybils
Nominated for 2011 Cybils in Fiction Picture Books by: Kara Schaff Dean
Also reviewed for Cybils by: debnance | morninglightmama | rebeccareid
© 2011 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).