I Must Have Bobo!
Written by Eileen Rosenthal | Illustrated by Marc Rosenthal | 2011

This is the second book we read a few weeks ago for storytime. Another tale about a beloved stuffed friend and his reoccurring disappearance. In this book we have a little boy named Willy, a sock monkey named Bobo and a mischievous cuddling cat named Earl.

The story comes as a day in the life of Willy. He wakes to find his Bobo is missing and declares the book title, “I Must Have Bobo!” Willy tells of several daily activities in which Bobo is crucial to have around. He then discovers Earl the cat cuddling Bobo under the covers. He loudly scolds Earl and he and Bobo leave the scene.

I love Earl’s expression!

While playing, Bobo again disappears and Willy searches for him. He interrogates the cat to no avail and then chases after Earl as well. Several pages ensue with Willy looking for Earl and Bobo, while the reader catches glimpses of Earl, often with Bobo, in the background. There is a happy ending but I’m not going to tell you for whom…. You’ll have to pick it up for yourself.

This book is great fun, but I must admit a little odd to read aloud. The first person narration of Willy is very simple and without explanation most of the time. Several pages consist of just saying Bobo and Earl’s names while he looks. I often find this to be awkward, especially when I wasn’t prepared for it, but once I get into it, it is great fun. And kids love the book! They can search with Willy, and they get to spy Earl or Bobo in various scenes unbeknownst to Willy. It is similar in concept to the old show Blue’s Clues where the kids see something the main character does not. Giggles often ensue as they spot Earl sneaking around. I love this. It’s easy to be tickled by Earl the cat’s hilarious “expressions” and sneaky nature. I have to say, I may be on team Earl!

Marc & Eileen Rosenthal look like a fun pair. They live in Massachusetts with their son & their cat, named Pete.

I Must Have Bobo! was Eileen’s first book and the duo followed it up this year with I’ll Save You Bobo! I love Eileen’s biography on her agent website, Pippin Properties, Inc., especially her description of her favorite things:

“Gardens and coffee shops are my favorite places to be. Libraries and museums are next in line. I love being in the garden, playing in the dirt and hunting down interesting bugs (fun) or just dreaming.”

Marc Rosenthal is an accomplished illustrator with a hefty list of illustrations to his name. His style is very loose with heavy outlines. I’m always impressed when an illustrator can make his work simple and look effortless, although I’m sure it was not. The notes of the book describe the art as being done in pencil and colored digitally. His pencil strokes are very strong and it is amazing to see the amount of action he conveys with them.

Be sure to check this one out and I’d love to hear whose side you and your kiddos are on!