Big Bob, Little Bob by James Howe, illustrated by Laura Ellen Anderson


51-pqhh95jl  Big Bob, Little Bob by James Howe, illustrated by Laura Ellen Anderson. Candlewick, 2016. 9780763644369

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

What did you like about the book? Big Bob moves in to the house next to Little Bob, and although they share a name, it is hard to imagine two kids more different. Little Bob likes playing with dolls, dressing up and quiet reading. Big Bob likes football, fire trucks and superheroes. The two boys play side by side, but separately. When a girl moves into the neighborhood, she challenges Little Bob on his choices and Big Bob comes to his defense. The new girl, Blossom, admits that she prefers trucks to dolls herself, and the kids become friends. The tension that the reader may feel in wondering what will happen to the relationship between the children is quickly resolved in the back and forth dialogue between them. Children, when left to themselves, can often resolve their differences with no trouble. I love that we see that happening in this story about gender roles. The pleasing digital illustrations are full of fun details – the toys the kids play with, the flowers in Little Bob’s hair, the dog and cat neighbors that become friends along with their owners. A fine addition to the growing number of titles on gender expression for children.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Other picture books on gender expression: I’m a Girl by Yasmeen Ismail, My Princess Boy by Cheryl Kilodavis, Introducing Teddy by Jessica Walton.

Who should buy this book? Day cares, elementary school and public libraries

Where would you shelve it ? Picture books

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA

Date of review: December 22, 2016

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