Bob by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead, with illustrations by Nicholas Gannon. Feiwel and Friends, 2018.
I generally think of Wendy Mass as writing snappy, realistic but funny modern-day fantasy, while Rebecca Stead writes still mostly modern-day but dreamier, harder to pin down books. Not authors I would have thought to put together – yet here they are, each writing a different point of view, though it’s never identified who is writing what. Charlotte had a nice breakdown of who might have written which part and why on her blog.
10-year-old Livy is returning to her Gran’s house in Australia for the first time in 5 years. She doesn’t remember anything of that last visit, though she feels compelled to rush up to the closet in her bedroom there as soon as she gets there. She’s full of questions and things she doesn’t understand, including why she’s so anxious about her mother leaving her there.
In the closet, she finds a stuffy, a black pawn, a tape recorder, and a strange green creature in a quite unbelievable chicken suit who says his name is Bob and that he’s been waiting for her, in the closet all of those five years. Why, if he says they were inseparable, does she not remember him?
Bob doesn’t understand everything himself, either. He doesn’t know what he is or where he came from. Woven into the knotty mystery is the ongoing drought in Australia, one that’s threatening to drive everyone off of their land.
This is a quiet, quirky and cozy story, a pleasant break from long series and books filled with never-ending Action.