Book: Bob, Not Bob!
Author: Liz Garton Scanlon & Audrey Vernick
Illustrator: Matthew Cordell
Age Range: 3-7
The title of Bob, Not Bob! only begins to make sense if you notice the text above the title: "To be read as though you have the worst cold ever." And what word sounds an awful like "Bob" when you have a really stuffed up nose? Why, "mom", of course. Little Louie has a terrible cold. And although generally getting to be more independent, when he is sick, all he wants is his mom. All the time. But when he calls for her in his stuffed-up voice, what comes out instead of "Mom" is "Bob". This gets a bit confusing, because his dog is named "Bob". Silliness prevails, all set against the strong force of maternal love and a sick child's need for comfort.
Bob, Not Bob!, written by Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick and illustrated by Matthew Cordell, is a perfect picture book for the winter cold season, with just the right mix of humor and universal suffering. Like this (illustrated with a series of separate vignettes):
"Today, Little Louie's nose was clogged.
His ears crackled
and his brain felt full.
(He didn't know of what.)
But mostly, his nose.
It was disgusting.
Little Louie didn't want to color.
Or watch TV.
He didn't even want to shoot baskets with wadded-up tissues.
All he wanted (besides maybe some hot chocolate) was his mother.
BOB! called Little Louie with his weird,
all-wrong, stuffed-up voice."
Definitely fun text to read-aloud, especially if one is willing, as directed, to read Louie's lines in a properly stuffed up voice.
While the text suggests Louie's mother's endless patience, as does the cover image above, Matthew Cordell does occasionally slip in hints that Mom is suffering, too. My favorite page is one in which Louie is ranting loudly about his misery, clinging to his mom's legs, while she holds a laundry basket and puts her free hand over her face.
Speaking of the illustrations, bonus points for Louie and his family being brown-skinned, in a book that it not "about" diversity, but instead about something completely universal: the common cold. The text and illustrations together convey Louie's utter misery, as well as the melodrama that can accompany any sick child.
Bob, Not Bob! is a book that belongs in libraries everywhere, to be taken home during or after a bout with sickness. Bob, Not Bob! offers a humorous take on a winter cold, but also honors the love and patience of mothers. The fact that the mom ends up sick at the end of the book seems inevitable and appropriate. Recommended for stuffy-nosed listeners of all ages.
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion (@DisneyHyperion)
Publication Date: February 14, 2017
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher
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