- Up on Bob by Mary Sullivan
Sullivan, Mary Up on Bob; written and illus. by Mary Sullivan. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2020 [34p] Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-328-99471-4 $17.99 E-book ed. ISBN 978-0-358-16721-1 $12.99 Reviewed from galleys R* Gr. K-2
Bob the dog is on a mission: set up the human bed for the best possible daytime nap. He's knocked the toys off and arranged the pillows ("Bob likes hard work. Hard work pays off"), and he's all set for his snooze, but now Someone (a cheeky gray cat) is watching him. Kitty pounces—and sets to work on arranging (and cleaning) Bob for a perfect shared nap. Sullivan (Ball, BCCB 5/13, Nobody's Duck, BCCB 1/18) again displays her gift for concise animal comedy in this strippeddown [End Page 232] beginning reader in picture-book format. The text incorporates repetition effortlessly, evincing a conversational tone even as it aids new readers, and then the cat development turns the full reiteration of the bed-preparing ritual into a comic twist. Digital line and watercolor–style art is light-hearted and spring-toned, with the strong emphasis on Bob, a long-nosed sausage (and a well-stuffed sausage at that) of a pup with expressive ginger eyebrows; the rounded toylike cat is cute even as an antagonist and adorable as a cuddle buddy. Kids just puzzling out words will appreciate the comfortable format and cozily funny story, and this is also a perfect picture book to encourage youngsters to start testing out their co-reading.