Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews



Wendy Mass, Rebecca Stead
For ages 8 to 11
Feiwel & Friends, 2018   ISBN: 978-1250166623

Five years ago Livy and her mother visited Livy’s grandmother in Australia. Now they are back, in part so that Gran can meet Beth Ann, Livy’s new baby sister. Gran is delighted to see her daughter and granddaughters of course, but she cannot help being a little sad because Livy does not remember her last visit to Australia. She does not remember the farm animals, and she does not remember loving the green stuffed elephant. One thing she does remember is the “wrong chicken.” Apparently one of the farm chickens five-year-old Livy saw was somehow different from the others.

Then Livy remembers something about the second floor; something up there is important. She goes upstairs and into the room that she will be sleeping in. When she sees the closet she knows that the important something, whatever it is, has something to do with the closet. Livy opens up the closet and there, sitting on a dictionary, is a “small green zombie wearing a chicken suit.” Seeing such a creature is odd enough, but then it speaks and Livy finds out that the zombie – if that is what it is – has been waiting for her. For five years.

Apparently five-year-old Livy told the zombie thing, Bob, to wait for her and that is what he has been doing ever since. Bob is rather upset that Livy cannot remember him at all but he does not hold it against her. He knows that Livy was a little girl the last time she was there and little children don’t always remember everything.

Livy learns that five years ago she promised to help Bob find his home and so she sets about trying to do just that. Bob tells her that she saved him and that the last place he remembers before this happened was the chicken coop. Off to the chicken coop they go, and while they are inside the building Bob remembers that when they were last there Livy was cold and wet.

In addition to trying to piece together where Bob came from, Livy is keen to find out what Bob is. After looking up the definition of zombie in the dictionary the friends decide that Bob is not a zombie after all. So what is he?

Then Livy goes to town with her mother, Gran, and Beth Ann to have dinner and though she promises to get Bob some clothes while she is there, she completely forgets about it. Getting him some clothes was uppermost in her mind when she left the house, but by the time she gets to town the thought it gone. Livy figures out that when she is away from Bob she forgets about him, which can only mean one thing. Bob is magical in some way.

With delicious touches of humor, this wonderful story unfolds in a perfect and heartwarming way. Piece by piece Livy and Bob figure out what happened five years ago, and it becomes clear that their relationship is both special and unique. They are tied by a powerful bond that hopefully will make it possible for them to find out who Bob is and where he belongs.