Dogs, Gorillas, and Storms REVIEWING The One and Only Bob

 Welcome back to The Real World According To Sam! Back in September, I reviewed The One and Only Ivan (Click the title to check out that review). Today, we are reviewing its sequel:

The One and Only Bob

Author: Katherine Applegate
Genre: Children's Fantasy
Year: 2020

The One and Only Bob


Bob sets out on a dangerous journey in search of his long-lost sister with the help of his 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. 


You all may remember my talking about The One and Only Ivan and how much I loved it. When I saw that there was a sequel and my local library was getting an e-book copy, I knew I just had to read it. This book came out back in May of this year, so it is already available. Unlike the previous book, this one is not based at all on a true story in any way. The One and Only Ivan was inspired by actual events, but was told in a fictionalized and fantastic way. This one is pure fantasy. It takes characters we met in the previous book and presents a new story, focused on a different character.

First off, let's talk about the cover. It's so cute. We've got Bob front and center, being his tiny, but adorable self. Behind him on either side we have little Ruby and Ivan, the one and only. I like that they kept the title font from the previous book, but that the color tones and focus are very different. I also really like that all three of these characters have been put together, particularly since Bob wasn't on the cover of the previous book. Of course, that one wasn't his story. It was Ivan and Ruby's. Now, this is Bob's story, but Ivan and Ruby are a big part of why the story can even be told. So let's talk about the story. 

The One and Only Bob focuses on Bob and his new life. Since the circus in the mall closed and the animals were rehomed, Bob has been living with George, his wife, and their daughter, Julia. George now works at the zoo and Julia likes to go with him. When Julia goes, she sneaks in Bob so he can say hi to his friends. The story is very much about Bob adjusting to life in a home with a family. He was a stray and he acts very tough, but he has some secrets and some scars that he hasn't faced. Bob once had a sister and due to a very destructive hurricane, he finds himself seeking her out. This is an adventure story. It is the story of a small dog with a big heart and a big task ahead of him. 

This book brings back some familiar characters from the last book. This includes not just Ivan, Ruby, and Bob's human family, but also Snickers, the dog from the circus. We also get to meet new characters. We are introduced to some of the animals that live at the zoo. The focus does stay predominantly on Bob though, which is why this book shines so much. Bob is a very fun character. He acts very tough and has a hard time adjusting to having a home. At heart, he still feels very much like a street dog. He can't seem to settle in, particularly because of scars he has from his past and things he has done that he isn't proud of. Through it all though, I really came out of the book appreciating Bob a lot. He is a fantastic main character and I loved reading his story. He has a lot of baggage, but working through it with him and seeing him progress is a treat. In the last book, we really got to know Ivan and here we can see why he and Bob are such good friends. We can also see how much each of these animals helps the others around them. They really are a big family and there is a lot of positivity to be found in this book. 

The conflicts in this story are pretty simple, but they are also big topics. Surviving a destructive storm is no small task. Trying to find lost family and trying to find your place in the world are big themes. Also, trying to figure out how to live alongside other creatures given different perceptions from the expectation is a tough thing for Bob to do. I thought these conflicts and themes were very deep, even though they're being tackled by such a child friendly cast of characters. If you liked the first book and liked Bob as a character, then you're most likely going to like this one, because he really shines. You may be surprised at how tough it might be to be a dog sometimes.

Overall, I really liked this book. It didn't have the same weight for me as the first book did, but it was still a very fun read. I love these characters and I love seeing them tackle their struggles. I like the positivity that the book has and the deep struggles presented. I don't think anyone expected a sequel novel initially, but I would definitely love to see more adventures in the future if Katherine Applegate can come up with more stories to tell in their world. I would definitely recommend this book to fans of the previous book. I would also recommend this series to animal loving readers of all ages. I give The One and Only Bob a Lone Star rating of ✯✯. 

This concludes another review here at The Real World According To Sam, where I bring the books straight to your screen and even provide my own two cents about them. See you at the next review!