Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A model of economy in its prose as well as its illustrations, this modest story radiates understated wit. Center stage is Leon, who has moved into town with his mother while his father is away in the army. Fortunately, Leon has Bob to see him through the transition. Bob joins him for breakfast, walks him to school and, when Leon receives letters from his father, Bob likes to hear Leon read them "over and over again." Nobody else can see Bob, not even the reader, who watches the events play out against a backdrop of piquant watercolor-and-ink sketches. When a new boy moves in next door, however, and Leon decides to go introduce himself, Bob disappears from Leon, too. All is well in the end, of course, for the new boy's name is-what else?-Bob. It's a fitting ending to a familiar story, polished here to a bright shine. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Wendy Keen
A lonely little boy moves to a new place with his mother and his friend, Bob, whom no one can see. Bob keeps Leon company as he brushes his teeth, eats breakfast and goes to school. One Saturday, Leon notices and waves to the little boy who has moved in next door. After much deliberation, he decides to introduce himself the next day, but only if Bob goes with him. Leon is startled and a bit worried when Bob abandons him at the new boy's front door. Still, Leon manages to work up his courage and ring the doorbell. The ending is satisfying. James' amiable watercolor and ink drawings are warmly appealing.
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Leon, a new kid in town, has a friend named Bob, but Bob is only visible to Leon. Although Leon is happy sharing his days with Bob, he is a bit lonely and exceedingly shy. When a boy moves in next door Leon finally decides that he will go meet him, but only if Bob comes along. When the new kid comes to the door, Leon receives a very pleasant surprise. Jones' lighthearted illustrations add touches of humor to his heartwarming story.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2Leon's father is away in the army, but the boy seems to be doing just fine with his new invisible friend, Bob. Just as he did in Dear Mr. Blueberry (S & S, 1991), James captures the wonderful qualities and imagination of a child. The simple text and comic illustrations reveal a sweet boy who misses his father but compensates for his loss by sharing his days with Bob. Especially delightful are the watercolor-and-ink illustrations, with their understated touches: clothing hanging out of a drawer, a soccer ball that appears in many of the pictures, and his father's letter tucked into bed beside Leon. The elongated doors, windows, steps, and a huge bed are funny but evoke a feeling of loneliness. However, the ending is upbeat as a new family moves in and Leon meets a "real" boy named Bob. All in all, a good choice for any picture-book collection.Mary M. Hopf, Los Angeles Public Library
Leon is new in town. His father is away in the army and his mother is often busy, but Leon has Bob, a pal no one else can see. Bob is a good friend, keeping Leon company as they walk to school, and sharing letters from Leon's dad. One day a new boy moves in next door. Leon prepares to meet him, "but you'll have to come with me, Bob." When Leon approaches the new kid's front door, he realizes Bob isn't next to him. Guess what the new kid's name turns out to be? The story may be a bit too neat, but there is no denying the quality of the artwork. The ink-and-watercolor illustrations have a hint of James Stevenson's work to them, cat- quick and near weightless, and James (Ancient Rome, 1990, etc.) has a wonderful way with gestures: the slouch in Leon's shoulders as he shuffles off to school, the angle of his head as he lends an ear to a voice only he can hear. Tidy, but congenial.