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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Hello My Name is Bob, written and illustrated by Linas Alsenas. Scholastic, 2009. $ 18.99 ages 3 and up

"My name is Bob.
I'm a bear.
But I should warn you.
I'm very boring."

I don't find Bob boring at all. He simply likes what some people consider a boring lifestyle. He likes to count toothpicks, dust plants, sit, ponder in parking lots, perhaps even bake cookies on Friday night when everyone else is out whooping it up.
His pal Jack is his polar opposite...that happens in life, doesn't it? Jack loves surfing, painting, wearing bright colors and skateboarding on parking lots. Some people would find his lifestyle difficult to maintain.

Does that matter to the two friends? It does not. They are quite content being with each other, for many reasons and with great happiness. Bob speaks in short sentences, assuring that he doesn't exert too much energy. Jack flashes from one place to another with pizazz and plenty of feeling! The art reflects each of their characters with wise and witty use of color, space and expression. Bob's modest and calm demeanor, his virtually expressionless face and his simple clothing are placed on a background of white. Jack's exuberant existence, constant motion and huge grin are backed by the brilliance of a stage, a swamp or a jungle. Kids will have much to discuss about the evident differences as they share these illustrations. They may find themselves in one or the other, or perhaps in both.

In the end it matters not what attracts us to our friends. What does matter is our love for each other, our concern about their well-being and our acceptance of what makes them so special. Bob and Jack know this!

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