Bob the Artist
Written and Illustrated by Marion Deuchars
Laurence King Publishing 4/26/2016
32 pages Ages 3—7
“Bob’s SKINNY legs
are making him feel SO SAD.
But what can he do?”
It is a beautiful day. Bob decides to go for a walk on his “fine legs.” Not long after, a cat makes fun of Bob, calling his legs skinny. Then an owl calls Bob’s legs, “funny walking sticks.” With each barb, Bob becomes a little sadder. Then he comes upon birds, just like himself. Of course, they would not tease him.
For shame, the birds did tease him. Bob feels very sad. His legs are skinny and Bob knew just what to do about them. He goes to the gym. Bob does every imaginable exercise to build up his legs. Now, Bob has . . . skinny legs. Bob is not finished. He has a couple more ideas. He does both and now Bob has . . . skinny legs. Discouraged, Bob goes for a walk. The art museum is on Bob’s route, so he goes inside. Bob sees the art of several famous artists and becomes INSPIRED!
Bob leaves the house self-confident and returns defeated. Such is the work of bullies. But instead of confronting the bullies head on, Bob tries to make his skinny legs bigger. His three ideas leave Bob with the same skinny legs. During a new walk, Bob lands inside an art museum. There he views the art of many masters and becomes inspired. Bob, now Bob the Artist, copies Matisse’s leafs and Jackson Pollock’s splatters, among others.
Bob the Artist begins as a book about bullying. Then it dives into a book about art. What? Deuchars’ mashes the two themes together when Bob uses his artistic abilities to copy the art masters onto his beak. This little bit of ingenuity directs the bully’s attention toward Bob’s beak. It works. Deuchars returns to Bob’s skinny legs,
“Bob LOVES showing off his
WONDERFUL beak designs.
He doesn’t worry about his
SKINNY legs any more.
IN FACT, he is now
rather PROUD of them!”
In the museum, Bob realizes being different, like the artists he views, is not a bad thing. Actually, it can be a good thing. In Bob’s case, his artistic beaks bring him the positive difference he is looking for, and not the negative difference of his skinny legs. Everyone loves his beak. Bob regains his self-confidence, no longer thinking or worrying about his skinny legs. Nor did anyone else. The owl and the cat love his beak art. Bob grows to love it as well.
Deuchars does set up a twist. One day, Bob leaves his beak its natural color. The others think this beak is brilliant, (probably having forgotten its original color or no longer caring). The twist is hilarious and brilliant. Bob the Artist uses the diversion—artistic, colorful beaks—to distract his bullies. In the process, Bob also improves himself and his self-esteem. If not for a return of his self-confidence, the twist would not have worked.
Bob the Artist is a story about bullying, but more importantly, it is a story about gaining your self-confidence and living life for yourself, not for a bully. The main message is be confident enough to be yourself. Bullies—not possessing much self-confidence—do not like self-confident people; they are much harder to bully.
Bob the Artist is Marion Deuchars’ debut picture book.
BOB THE ARTIST. Text and illustrations copyright © 2016 by Marion Deuchars. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Laurence King Publishing, London.
Find Bob the Artist on Goodreads HERE.
Downloadable Activities are forthcoming.
BOB THE ARTIST. Illustrations © 2016 by Marion Deuchars. Used by permission of Laurence King Publishing.
Copyright © 2016 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved
Full Disclosure: Bob the Artist by Marion Deuchars, and received from Laurence King Publishing, is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”