Chez Bob

Little, Brown. Sept. 2021. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780316483117.
PreS-Gr 2–This quirky tale of a nefarious plan gone wrong follows Bob, a proudly lazy alligator who devises an elaborate scheme to lure his meals to him instead of hunting. He builds a birdseed restaurant on his snout to attract birds, making it a snap to gobble them up. However, when the first customer arrives, Bob realizes it would be prudent to allow the bird to fly free and spread the word about “Chez Bob,” thereby attracting even more potential snacks with ease. Despite his worst intentions, Bob becomes unwittingly attached to his trusting new companions and the lively community they form around him. He joins a book club and coaches the basketball team, but will he actually make a meal of his feathered friends? The suspense is drawn out until the very end. Young readers will delight in this tale of a flawed protagonist and will cheer for his eventual change of heart. Witty prose and dialogue invite dramatization, making for a fabulously fun read-aloud, while Shea’s signature bold, colorful, stylized illustrations serve up a visual feast. Surprisingly touching themes of friendship and caring underpin the narrative’s zany humor. Readers will come away giggling but will also retain a renewed sense of the importance of kindness and belonging.
VERDICT Laugh-out-loud funny, sweet, and a surefire hit for story time. Bob Shea fans will rejoice.–

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