Sunday, April 13, 2014

My Name is Bob by James Bowen & Garry Jenkins

If you're a cat lover, you probably already know the story of Bob and James as told in A Street Cat
Named Bob
. I reviewed the story of the street musician who adopted a street cat who changed his life. Now, James Bowen and co-author Garry Jenkins, along with illustrator Gerald Kelley, turn the story into a picture book in My Name is Bob. But, the book takes a different slant. What was Bob's life before he and James found each other?

This is a picture book that starts with a happy beginning and has a happy ending. The authors imagine that Bob was once a beloved housecat whose elderly owner was taken away in an ambulance. When Bob tried to follow, he became lost. And, that's where the story becomes a heartbreaker for adults more than children. While children will see a lost cat who eventually finds a home, adults will see a homeless cat, scrambling for shelter, and shooed away. It's easy for adults to compare homeless people and animals. When Bob no longer recognizes himself after time on the streets, it makes you think about all the homeless people on the streets. Do they recognize themselves in the people they now are?

Children will love the story of a cat who finds someone to love him, and enjoy knowing that James and Bob perform on the streets. Kelley's illustrations beautifully relate the story of two lonely creatures of the street who find each other. (Check out that lovely cover portrait of Bob.) As an adult, though, My Name is Bob is a beautiful, but heartbreaking story.

James Bowen and Bob can be found on Facebook at

My Name is Bob by James Bowen & Garry Jenkins. Barron's. 2014. ISBN 9780764767256 (hardcover).

FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.


Beth Hoffman said...

This is wonderful. I'm so glad the story of Bob is now available for children!

Lesa said...

Of course, I thought of you when I read the book, Beth. It's such a nice book.