cover image The One and Only Bob

The One and Only Bob

Katherine Applegate, illus. by Patricia Castelao. HarperCollins, $18.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-06-299131-7

With this stellar sequel to her Newbery Award–winning The One and Only Ivan, Applegate sounds precisely balanced notes of genuine humor and heart-tugging tenderness through the voice of Ivan’s best friend, Chihuahua mutt Bob. Rescued by a loving family, former stray Bob regularly visits Ivan, who now lives in a wildlife sanctuary along with elephant Ruby. Tough-talking Bob, who was thrown out of a car with his siblings as a pup, acknowledges, albeit a bit defensively, that pampered domesticated life suits him: “So what if I’ve gotten a little spoiled? A tad soft around the edges?” Ricocheting between entertainment and poignancy, the dog’s musings on his past and present give way to an urgent chronicle of survival after a hurricane ravages Ivan and Ruby’s sanctuary while Bob is visiting. Applegate deepens the suspense (while, ingeniously, amplifying the humor) with the appearance of Bob’s long-lost sister. The novel’s fluid meshing of loyalty, forgiveness, and trust will leave readers hoping that the author has more one-and-only stories to tell. Final illustrations not seen by PW. Ages 8–12. [em](May) [/em]