Simon James wanted to be a stuntman or a cartoonist as a child. He is now the author and illustrator of a number of bestselling picture books, including Baby Brains (9781844285228), Baby Brains Superstar (9781406302028) and Baby Brains and Robomum (9781406302400), as well as Dear Greenpeace (9781406308488), winner of the Smarties Book Prize Silver Medal, and Sally and the Limpet (9781406308464). Simon lives in Devon.
K-Gr 2‘Leon'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
"* "Delightful pictures and a brilliant, happy ending." The London Parents Guide"
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.)