A True Story of Hurricane Katrina, Friendship, and Survival.
“Both Bobbi the dog nor Bob Cat has a tail, and some say that’s what brought them together.” Abandoned during the Katrina evacuations, pets Bobbi and Bob Cat wander dangerous, debris-strewn streets seeking food and water. Eventually taken to a rescue shelter, the Bobbies show distress when separated but remain calm when together. Workers then discover that Bob Cat is blind and that Bobbi seems to serve as his seeing-eye dog. A national news appearance ultimately results in the animals' shared adoption in a happy new home. The descriptive, sometimes folksy prose and realistically rendered gouache illustrations accessibly convey the Bobbies’ experiences and mutual devotion. An after word, with a photo of the real-life furry friends, notes the parts of the narrative that are speculative, such as the animals’ preshelter experiences.
A True Story of Hurricane Katrina, Friendship, and Survival
“Larson and Nethery relate the true story of a dog and a cat, both tailless, that come to be called Bobbi and Bob Cat, respectively. Abandoned in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, the inseparable duo wander the devastated city for months before being taken into an animal shelter and then finally to a new home on a ranch in Oregon . The improbability of the pair’s survival is heightened by the astounding discovery that Bob Cat is blind and surely would not have persevered without Bobbi’s protection.
By Sally Lodge, Children's Bookshelf -- Publishers Weekly, 8/21/2008
For two children’s authors, who also happen to be friends, a true story about animal friendship in New Orleans post-Hurricane Katrina proved impossible to ignore. Two Bobbies : A True Story of Hurricane Katrina, Friendship, and Survival is written by Kirby Larson and Mary Nethery, who became close after meeting at a writer’s conference almost 20 years ago. Due from Walker and Co. next month, the book relays the tale of animal pals Bobbi and Bob Cat. This inseparable duo—a dog and a blind cat—were found wandering the New Orleans streets in the aftermath of the 2005 hurricane. They were taken in by workers for Best Friends Animal Society, a Utah-based organization that rescued many abandoned or orphaned pets after the catastrophic storm, who then arranged for the pair to be adopted by an Oregon ranch owner. (Best Friends will receive 10 percent of the authors’ proceeds from the book.)
Novelist Larson (Newbery Honor book Hattie Big Sky) and picture-book author Nethery ( Mary Veronica’s Egg) had been discussing collaborating on a book for quite some time when Nethery saw a segment on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 about victims of Katrina, part of which was devoted to Bobbi and Bob Cat. “Mary phoned me and said, ‘I found the right story for us,’ ” Larson recalls. “I had traveled to both Mississippi and New Orleans to help with post-hurricane clean-up, and the whole situation had touched my heart. I knew that this was, indeed, the story we were meant to tell.”
After Emily Easton, publisher of Walker Books for Young Readers, signed up Two Bobbies , she lined up Jean Cassels, whom she had worked with on previous projects, to illustrate it. Cassels was a fitting choice, since she is a New Orleans resident who evacuated the city—along with her husband and three dogs—the day before Katrina hit land. “Mary and I did careful research for this book,” Larson says, “but that is nothing like living through the hurricane. Jean brought a powerful emotional underlay to this story with her heartwarming art that captures the animals’ relationship so wonderfully.”
A sad postscript to this story is Bob Cat’s recent death from an adverse reaction to medication. But Larson, who hopes that readers find Two Bobbies “a story of hope that is rooted in a situation that didn’t have much hope,” reassured the cat’s heartbroken adoptive owner: “We told her that he won’t really die, since he will live on through our book.”
Two Bobbies Gets a 16th
The Missouri Association of School Librarians has selected Two Bobbies: A True Story of Hurricane Katrina, Friendship and Survival (Walker Books for Young Readers), written by Mary Nethery and Kirby Larson and illustrated by Jean Cassels, for its 2010-2011 Show Me Reader Awards List. Congratulations Two Bobbies! This was the book's 10th state nomination.
Selected by Indie Booksellers for the Fall 2008 Kids' List
“The touching true story of Bob and Bobbi, a cat and dog who join forces to survive Hurricane Katrina. How wonderful to find an age-appropriate, moving, beautifully drawn story that brings this national tragedy back into our consciousness.”
-- Karen Maeda Allman, The Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA
Two Bobbies was also selected for the 2009 Children's Choices list by the International Reading Association and the Children's Book Council, and received a 2009 SIBA.
"Two Bobbies is one powerful, heartwarming book. But it is the artwork by Jean Cassels that gives the story its emotional power."
- Marigny Dupuy, The Times-Picayune
"...one knockout book for readers of all ages."
- Book Group Buzz, A Booklist Blog
"Two Bobbies is one [book] you will not soon forget."
- Jennifer Schultz, The Kiddosphere
"Children (and adults) will love this story."
- Fran Hawk, The Post and Courier