Ms. Ila’s Middle Grade Reading Club: The One and Only Bob by Katherine Applegate

The One and Only Bob by Katherine Applegate is a winning sequel to the original The One and Only Ivan.  Ivan is a silverback gorilla who was housed in a mall zoo for 27 years.  He befriended a baby elephant named Ruby and a stray dog named Bob.  Together, they survived the brutal life of living in cages until they are finally transferred to a more livable habitat at the end of the book.

Bob was a humorous secondary character who was Ivan's best friend.  In The One and Only Bob, we learn more about Bob and how he became the dog he is today.  There is a secret from Bob's past that haunts him to this day.  What is that secret?  We will find out at the end of the story!

The One and Only Bob falls in the genre called animal fiction.

Bob must face three natural disasters in this book.  Living in California, you have been trained how to react to fires and earthquakes.  However, if you live elsewhere in the United States, you will find that different areas may have to prepare for different disasters like tornadoes, hurricanes, and/or floods.

Bob Thinks That He looks Out for Only Number 1

Bob says several times that he is an independent dog and only looks out for Number 1.  Who is Number 1?  When someone says "looking out for Number 1," they are talking about only looking out for themselves.  Do you think this is true about Bob?

After "flying," Bob's thoughts are foremost on the safety and well-being of his friends:  Ivan and Ruby.

After finding that Ivan is in trouble, he works with a rescue dog to make sure that the humans help Ivan out of his terrible problem.  He also looks for Ruby to make sure she is safe.

Bob thinks he only looks out for Number 1, but during the disasters, he helps a baby sloth, a baby gorilla, Ivan, his own sister, animals in the animal shelter, and a puppy.  He accomplishes all of these rescues despite the fear of dangerous animals on the loose!

Facing Kimu the wolf twice would be twice too much for me!

Questions to Think About

  • Do you think Bob is really only thinking about Number 1?
  • How would you describe a hero?
  • Sometimes forgiving yourself is the hardest thing to do.  Did you ever have a hard time forgiving yourself?
  • Bob doesn't trust humans because of what happened to him when he was a puppy.  Do you think he should trust Julia and her family?
  • Do you think you are as brave as Bob?
  • Do you think Bob will be a good parent to Rowdy?  Why or why not?

Next month, we'll read a non-fiction book about youth movements called Kids on the March by Michael G. Long.  In addition, please note that we will be reading another book on April 2, called Everything Sad is Untrue by Daniel Nayeri to celebrate the end of Nowruz, or Persian New Year.

If you have any questions or comments, please let me know in the comments below!