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Published by: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: May 1, 2018
Pages: 208
ISBN13: 978-1250166623


It’s been five years since Livy and her family have visited Livy’s grandmother in Australia. Now that she’s back, Livy has the feeling she’s forgotten something really, really important about Gran’s house.

It turns out she’s right.

Bob, a short, greenish creature dressed in a chicken suit, didn’t forget Livy, or her promise. He’s been waiting five years for her to come back, hiding in a closet like she told him to. He can’t remember who—or what—he is, where he came from, or if he even has a family. But five years ago Livy promised she would help him find his way back home. Now it’s time to keep that promise.

Clue by clue, Livy and Bob will unravel the mystery of where Bob comes from, and discover the kind of magic that lasts forever.


Educator's Guide

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Reviews & Awards

2018 Booklist Youth Editors' Choice
New York City Public Library Notable 100 Best Books for Kids
A Chicago Tribute Best Children's Book of the Year

"Pure enchantment"
The New York Times

The Wall Street Journal

"This is a welcome addition to the middle-grade canon and will likely become a classic. Bob deserves readership beyond middle grade."
San Francisco Book Review

"With delicious touches of humor, this wonderful story unfolds in a perfect and heartwarming way."
Through the Looking Glass

"A delightfully whimsical tale that begs to be read with a friend. Don’t miss Bob."
Christian Science Monitor

"Perfect for reading aloud or independent reading, this comfortably old-fashioned tale refreshes age-old themes of belonging, friendship, family and the power of story."
San Francisco Chronicle

"...The authors avoid the usual fantasy tropes — epic quests, winged fairies, castles — to create a quirky, luminous tale grounded in connection with the natural world. In exploring a diminishing resource and earth-centered magic, this charming, compact book — with illustrations by Nicholas Gannon — manages to be both timely and unique."
The Washington Post

"...Authors Mass (the Willow Falls series) and Stead (Goodbye Stranger) team up for this irresistible tale of magic, mystery, and friendship that poses timeless questions about identity and belonging. Ultimately, the answers Livy and Bob seek are waiting in the pages of a cherished book—a tribute to the power of storytelling, which draws readers into the imaginative investigation."
Publishers Weekly, starred review

"...Livy’s separation anxiety about her mother’s upcoming trip with friends and the drought in her grandmother’s town round out the story for a full plot line. Mass and Stead’s brilliant collaboration has produced a beautiful tale of friendship, love, and the magic of childhood. Livy and Bob’s points of view alternate chapters, and each character’s personality is wonderfully realized with subtle nuances of emotion and humor. A perfectly paced plot, supported by secondary characters to whom readers will relate and luminous artwork by Gannon, fill out a story that readers will eagerly embrace. VERDICT A must-have for libraries serving middle grade readers, this novel delights."
—Amy ­McInerney, Falmouth Elementary School, ME, School Library Journal, starred review

"...The very readable first-person narration alternates between Livy’s voice and Bob’s, and seen within well-realized settings, these endearing characters and their friendship drive the novel. Stead, whose When You Reach Me (2009) won the Newbery Medal, and Mass, author of the beloved Willow Falls series, combine their considerable talents to create an unusual fantasy with simplicity, immediacy, and wit..."
Carolyn Phelan, Booklist, starred review

"Writing superstars Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead have long excelled at crafting insightful, emotionally rich stories for young readers. Their first collaboration—Bob, a novel about (what else?) a most unusual friendship—is something wonderful indeed..."

Winner of:

Michigan Great Lakes Great Books Award
Mythopoeic Society Book Award
Golden Cowbell Book Award, Switzerland
The Cartwheel Book Award for Best Non-human Character
The Nerdy Bookclub award

Nominated for the:

New Jersey's Garden State Teen Book Award
Maine Student Book Award
Nebraska Golden Sower
Maryland Black Eyed Susan
Florida's Sunshine State Young Readers Award
Kentucky Bluegrass Award
Rhode Island Children's Book Award
Vermont's Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award
Oklahoma's Sequoyah Book Award
Washington State's Sasquatch Book Award
Virginia Readers Choice Award
Minnesota's Maud Harte Lovelace Book Award
Indiana Young Hoosiers Book Award
Illinois Bluestem Reader's Choice Award
Great Texas Mosquito List Student Choice Award


From the Horn Book magazine, Spring 2018. 5 Questions for Wendy Mass & Rebecca Stead:

In Mass and Stead’s middle-grade collaboration Bob, Livy (a human girl) and Bob (a…well, they’re not sure what, but decidedly not human) alternately narrate their quest to reunite the little green creature with his family.

1. Which of you wrote as Livy and who as Bob?

RS: I wrote the first chapter from Livy’s point of view. In the last scene, Livy flings open a closet door at her grandmother’s house and finds a small green “zombie” standing on a dictionary. I didn’t know who he was or why he was there. Then I handed things over to Wendy. She wrote the second chapter from his point of view, and we just tag-teamed it from there.

2. Why “Bob”? (It’s an unremarkable name for such a remarkable character.)

WM: That’s pretty much it: the juxtaposition of the name and his character just cracked me up. Also, my son knew he would be allowed to choose his own middle name when he turned ten, and after debating for nearly a decade, on his tenth birthday he announced that his middle name was now Bob. Bob! That kid! And now, our little green non-zombie.

3. What sources did you draw upon for this tale?

RS: I thought a lot about fairy tales and re-read my old Juniper Tree collection as the story progressed. But what I drew upon most was Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. The idea that you could so easily lose yourself, and your loved ones, was scary and powerful to me as a kid.

4. Do you ever wonder if some imaginary friends aren’t so imaginary?

WM: I never had an imaginary friend, although I was sure my stuffed animals led very full lives while I was at school! We knew early on that Bob wouldn’t actually be imaginary, and spent a lot of time figuring out the rules of who could and couldn’t see him. It adds an important layer to the mystery of who Bob is.

5. Bob’s magical “species” turns out to be quite important ecologically. What’s something we nonmagical creatures can do to help our planet?

RS: One small thing this nonmagical creature is doing: I never take a plastic bag from a store if I can help it. I have walked down Broadway with a bunch of bananas in one hand, a loaf of bread in the other, and pockets stuffed with cat food.