Bob, from Goodnight Bob by Ann and John Hassett, is back and he’s ready to rock! He’s caught up in a competition with his friend’s dog. Bob’s friend Max has a dog. Bob has a rock. Max’s dog can do tricks. But so can Bob’s rock! Can it do everything the dog does? This funny, minimalist story uses patterns, repetitions, and comparisons to create a satisfying read-aloud experience with a whimsical twist.
We were lucky enough to sit down with the husband-and-wife team to talk about enjoying the creative process, pets, and Bob’s Rock.
Q: Why write children’s books?
A: Honestly, we do it for our own amusement—it’s a lot of fun! At the same time, making picture books gives us the most authentic and discerning audience in the world. Children are definitely not afraid to tell you what they think of your work! Also, their understanding of the world goes far beyond their reading ability, so there is the combination of simple language and sophisticated emotion. We enjoy the challenge of creating with that perspective in mind.
Q: What was your inspiration for your title?
A: Throughout our own childhoods, John always had a pet and Ann always wanted a pet but never had one, which is why she identifies with a pet rock especially. Whether it’s a goldfish, a dog, or a rock, a pet is a good friend.
Q: What is your hope for Bob’s Rock?
A: We hope that readers will find Bob’s Rock funny and that they will connect with the relationship between Bob and his friend Max. Bob and Max engage in good-natured, silly one-ups-manship, comparing their pets’ abilities to perform tricks. Subtle competition and conflict go hand-in-hand with children’s friendships, and that is an important part of their daily interactions in the sandbox, on the playground, and at home.
Q: What makes your book stand out?
A: The simplicity of Bob’s Rock supports newly independent readers, but we think that the story is worth reading again and again whether the reader is an adult or a child. We think that readers will like Bob and his friends, and that the humorous situations and gentle surprises in both Bob’s Rock and Goodnight Bob make the books engaging and fun stories for children and families to read and reread.
Q: Are you working on any other projects?
A: Always! Bob is always having adventures, and we’re hoping to share them soon.