[The One and Only Bob]: A Review

Hi y’all!

I’ve scheduled this post to publish today with a review. When I discovered that Katherine Applegate had written a sequel to The One and Only Ivan, I immediately bought it because I knew I needed to own this book. Ivan’s story is one of my favorite Newbery winners that I’ve read–and is such a unique story of friendship and love. If you haven’t read Ivan, I highly recommend it!

The One and Only Bob follows the story of Ivan’s best friend, Bob, the stray dog who basically lives with Ivan in his story.

Initial Thoughts:

  • I really enjoyed this story although I would say it’s not quite as good as the first one. I must admit that I expected it to be that way. For me, Ivan is such a unique book that it’s hard to replicate it exactly. While this is certainly a clever story, it isn’t as unique and moving as Ivan’s story is for me.
  • The action was crazy! The tornado and the hurricane were both very intense. I was surprised how violent and scary everything was. Grateful to live in a place where there aren’t hurricanes or many tornadoes. The scenes when Bob is trying to save others are intense! Not for the youngest readers but certainly fine for middle grade readers.


According to Goodreads, “Return to the unforgettable world of the Newbery Medal-winning and #1 New York Times bestselling novel The One and Only Ivan (soon to be a major motion picture!) in this incredible sequel, starring Ivan’s friend Bob!

Bob sets out on a dangerous journey in search of his long-lost sister with the help of his two best friends, Ivan and Ruby. As a hurricane approaches and time is running out, Bob finds courage he never knew he had and learns the true meaning of friendship and family.

Bob, Ivan, and Ruby have touched the hearts of millions of readers, and their story isn’t over yet.

The highlight of this story for me was the writing style, and, once again, Applegate nails the point of view. What makes Ivan’s story so unique is that he tells it to us himself. I have still never read another novel quite like The One and Only Ivan. How many books do you know that tell the story from a gorilla’s perspective? We get inside Bob’s head this time which is quite different from Ivan’s but it has a similar clever, engaging voice. I love all the dog vocab throughout including the glossary at the start of the novel. Like in Ivan’s story, Bob’s voice offers us short chapters and lots of fun pictures. The short chapters are so easy to read quickly and the titles are as clever as in Ivan’s story.

Another favorite part of this story was reuniting with my favorite characters! It’s fun to get to know Bob more but the highlights of the story for me were his interactions with Ivan and Ruby. Applegate gives us some lovely moments with these two.   I love those two and seeing them thriving in their new homes was fantastic. Ruby manages to be just as adorable as in the original story and even shows how brave she has become. Ivan is still my absolute favorite character. The action surrounding him is surprising and heartwarming. The fact that all of these beloved characters found homes and families was very satisfying. Often, after I finish a favorite book, I want to know what life is like after the book ends. This book gives us a lovely glimpse at life after happily ever after.

Although, I am not a dog lover, I enjoyed getting inside Bob’s head and understanding his character better. On the outside, Bob is a tough, independent character. He doesn’t like to show weakness or even rely on others for anything. But this story adds depth to his character and shows even more that he cares about those around him. The story line of Bob reuniting with his sister, Boss, was heartwarming and mysterious. They had led such different lives yet we see how Boss teaches Bob about forgiveness. Their relationship helps explain Bob’s personality; plus, we get a glimpse of the tender heart inside his hard exterior which was nice. It made him a more well rounded character for me.

Overall, I enjoyed this sequel to one of my favorite Newbery winners. Bob’s story gives us added understanding about his background and why he acts the way he does. It allows us glimpses of life for Ruby and Ivan after they are relocated to the zoo. And I enjoyed seeing Julia and her parents outside of the mall circus of book one. While I certainly enjoyed the story, I still didn’t love it as much as the original. I am not really a dog person so sometimes I just didn’t connect with some of the characters like trying to rescue every animal in the shelter or how much some of the dogs love their owners. But I enjoyed the story and am glad to own it!

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What are some of your favorite sequels to Newbery or other award winners?
Do you think sequels can live up to the hype of original novels?

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