Did you hear that a new Disney movie, The One and Only Ivan, was released the other week? 2020 is a funny old year, so it's not going to make it to movie theatres and instead will be streaming on Disney Plus. But if you don't have access, don't worry, you can still read the book! And if you're a fan of The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, I'm sure you'll be excited to know that the sequel—The One and Only Bob—was released this year too!
I have to admit, the One and Only Ivan had been on my "For Later" list for years, and I finally read it last month. I'm so glad I did, because it's a fantastic book! Honestly, I wouldn't've imagined that a book told from the point of view of a gorilla could be so entertaining, believable, and bittersweet! But it is!
And while the One and Only Bob is a sequel, Bob's story definitely stands on it's own. It's also surprising, funny, exciting, and thought provoking too.
Just as Ivan's story is told from his point of view, so it is Bob who tells us about his life. He tells us about being abandoned along with his brothers and sisters when they are just little puppies, about his friendship with Ivan and the other animals at the Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, and about visiting his friends Ivan and Ruby, the baby elephant, who now live in a wildlife sanctuary.
He shares his thoughts on being man's best friend (being man's best friend can mean a lot of things. Companionship. Belly rubs. Tennis balls. But it can also mean being abandoned on a dark, endless highway), on forgiveness (seems like forgiving humans is one of those doggie things we're all supposed to do. Well, somehow I didn't get the memo. Why should I forgive the humans who tossed me and my siblings out into the night?), and family (it's like this. Boss is my sister. I let her down once, and now, well, I have a second chance). And he tells us about a storm that's brewing, and believe me, this storm will literally turn everyone's lives upside down!
Now, I've never met any gorillas, so I can't say from actual experience that I know how they tick. But I have known a few dogs. There was Jumbo, the corgi... he was cute, and I loved the way his tailless bum wagged when he was excited. He ate our Christmas presents once, and he bit me when I tried to pick him up and give him a cuddle. I still have the scar. And Elouise, part golden retriever, a little bit Alsatian, mostly mutt. I loved her, but she ate my beautiful, brand new shoes that I'd saved my pocket money for, and left indelible paw prints on my made-by-me, pastel pink skirt. Puppy ate the crotch out of my ballet tights. Gemma was the cause of numerous complaints from the neighbours. Connor destroyed an entire lounge suite. So I have to admit that my answer to author Katherine Applegate's question "Dogs. Aren't they the best?" is a pretty resounding "no."
Yeah, I'm not a dog person. But I think I kinda do know how they tick. And Bob's doggy voice came through loud and clear! The first thing Bob shares with us is a canine glossary, full of superb dog-words and phrases, like "drool flag: visible tongue protrusion, frequently displayed during copiloting or meal preparation" and "tug-of-war string: a long (though never long enough) piece of fabric or leather used to lead humans during walks." Isn't that so dog?! I'd tell you more of them, but I don't want to spoil it for you!
Bob's no saint, he tells us that himself. I definitely wouldn't want him as a pet. But I totally enjoyed reading his story.