Picture Book Review: My Name is Bob by James Bowen & Gary Jenkins


My Name is Bob by James Bowen & Gary Jenkins

Illustrator: Gerald Kelley

Age Range: 4 – 7 years

Grade Level: Preschool – 2

Hardcover: 32 pages

Publisher: Barron’s Educational Series (May 1, 2014)

Genre: Picture book

Source: Publisher for review

My Rating: 5 of 5 stars

About the Book:

Inspired by the heartwarming true story of James Bowen, and his New York Times Best Seller A Street Cat Named Bob: And How He Saved My Life, this picture book explores the familiar tale from a different point of view…Bob’s!

James and Bob are the best of friends–everywhere James goes, Bob the cat goes with him. But life wasn’t always so happy for the scarf-loving tabby. In My Name is Bob, we learn what Bob’s life was like before he found James. After his world was suddenly turned upside down, Bob found himself living alone on the street. His search for a new home ended when he met James, a street musician who needed Bob just as much as Bob needed him. Both children and adults will love this story of true friendship and second chances. A moving and uplifting tale (tail!) that will melt your heart.

About the Author:

James Bowen is the author of the bestselling A STREET CAT NAMED BOB and THE WORLD ACCORDING TO BOB. He found Bob the cat in 2007 and the pair have been inseparable ever since. They both live in north London. Gerald Kelley (Illustrator) Gerald Kelley’s work has been featured in children’s books, educational materials and short-story magazines. He illustrates for dozens of clients, including Oxford University Press, Random House and Scholastic. Knowing since he was a child that he wanted to be an illustrator when he grew up, Gerald went on to earn a degree in studio art. Still, the art of illustration has been largely self-taught and springs from his interest in visual storytelling. Gerald lives in Denver, Colorado, where he enjoys long hikes with his border collie, Scout. (But he still spends far too much time indoors.) –This text refers to the Paperback edition.

My Thoughts:

This book is inspired by the true story of Bob, a homeless cat, and James, a street performer. I read this book to my kids (ages 4 & 6) before bed. They stayed up well past “lights out” time to discuss it. They determined that the book was really good because it’s about a cat, and the fellow named James was smart for adopting Bob. My four year old said her favorite part of the book was the pictures, while my six year old liked how the cat found a new home.  My kids don’t usually discuss books together, so I was surprised and happy to see them talking about it and discussing what they liked and why. 

As for me, I found the book delightful.  Bob becomes homeless when his owner gets sick and is taken away in an ambulance.  He tries to follow her and gets lost.  After many hard months of living on the street, he meets a musician.  James takes the cat in and nurses him back to health.  The two of them have been together ever since.

It’s a beautiful story.  My kids and I have read it several times together, and my four year old sighs with happiness every time it ends.  There is a spread in the back with pictures of the real Bob and James.  My kids always spend a long time pouring over the pictures and talking about them.  The book was written from Bob’s point of view.  It’s always fun to read a book from an animal’s perspective.  It captures a child’s imagination and keeps them involved in the story.  This heartwarming book came to life for my kids.

Recommended for animal lovers ages 4-7 years old.

Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Image is from the illustrator’s website at www.geraldkelley.com.

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Tails from the Foster Kittens
    May 21, 2014 at 12:21 am

    Lovely review!!

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