Blue Ocean Bob: A Challenging Job by Brooks Olbrys, illustrated by Kevin Keele

The Adventures of Blue Ocean Bob: A Challenging Job by Brooks Olbrys is a part of a chapter book series featuring Bob, a character who loves the sea and all the life found within its depths. In this particular book, there are five short adventures (51 pages) containing lush illustrations (by Kevin Keele) and various moral lessons. Instead of the author preaching, Bob learns through the advice of various marine life (Doc the sea turtle, Wallace the walrus, Kodi the seal, and Earl the clam) and his own experiences. Although enthusiastic, Bob discovers it takes a lot of practice to master a skill – a good lesson to reinforce with children who get easily frustrated. His friend, a hummingbird named Xena, reflects the negativity some kids hear, but Bob perseveres despite the obstacles he must overcome. Although many of the animals speak and have human characteristics, this is still a good introduction to the some of the creatures found in the ocean with many of the problems they face, such as surviving storms or being caught in the nets of fishermen. The entire story is written in rhyme which adds to the fun. Unfortunately, the meter was sometimes a bit off which could be distracting to the reader. The text was also a little too advanced for beginners to use independently, even though it is packaged as a reader. Instead I would recommend it as a read-aloud for adults to share with children. However, Keele’s illustrations are colorful, detailed, and attractive, making the various sea life memorably lovable. This book does fit a niche in the Character Development genre, so it would be perfect for elementary grades discussing topics such as responsibility, fairness, forgiveness, communication, cooperation, perseverance, and gratitude. Three and a half stars and a Thank You to Netgalley and Children’s Success Unlimited for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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