Reviews for Bobby Vs. Girls (Accidentally)


Booklist Reviews 2009 October #2
Bobby and Holly are best friends, but at school they try to avoid each other because a boy-girl friendship is considered weird. Then, at the start of fourth grade, Holly chooses to go clothes shopping with snobby Jillian instead of rock hunting with Bobby, and he begins to wonder, "Is Holly turning into a girl?" Then Bobby and Holly run for student council, and things get ugly. Told from Bobby's smart, wry, vulnerable viewpoint, Yee's chapter book for younger readers captures the grade-school social scene in all its meanness and warmth. The gender roles are far from rigid, both at school and at home. Bobby can barely throw a ball, no matter how much he practices with his stay-at-home dad, an ex-football star who does all of the cooking, albeit badly. And with gentle humor, Yee also addresses questions of cultural identity through a pet-themed subplot. Bobby would love a dog, a "mutt" like himself (he is part Chinese, part English, and more), but he is allergic to fur, so he bonds with his beloved goldfish. Illustrated with occasional full-page, black-and-white sketches, the story of fights and fun will grab grade-schoolers. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2009 #5
Those clamoring for fiction with nonwhite or biracial characters in which race is not the focus will welcome nine-year-old Bobby Ellis-Chan. Bobby and Holly have been best friends since babyhood, but they've learned over the last couple of years to keep their friendship secret. When Holly, rather than joining Bobby for their annual rock-hunting trip the last day of summer vacation, chooses instead to go shopping (gasp!) with Jillian Zarr, Bobby senses the end is near, and indeed it is. The story of how Bobby and Holly lose and then rediscover their friendship is told with plenty of Yee's trademark humor: Bobby's retired-football-star father is now a stay-at-home dad, severely laundry-challenged and with stunningly bad cooking skills; his mom's job is to come up with "new products for Go Girly Girl, Inc., the country's largest maker of sparkly items"; a field trip leaves Bobby with an unusually close attachment to a tree in a scene that manages to be both poignant and funny. While Yee rarely deviates from her loyalty to the boy point of view, both boys and girls will find much to relate to here. This chapter book (for a younger audience than Yee's earlier trio of books that began with Millicent Min, Girl Genius, rev. 9/03) features Santat's frequent, amusing full-page illustrations and an invitingly spacious page layout. Copyright 2009 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2009 August #2
Fourth grade was supposed to be the best year ever, but when do events ever go according to plan? Usually starting with good intentions or, at the least, blind thoughtlessness, Bobby careens from one disastrous mess to another. Many of these situations involve the boys-against-girls mentality that makes for normal behavior in nine-year-olds. He and his best friend Holly know that they can't be seen walking to school together, and they are pulled further apart by peer pressure, even running against each other for class office. Add to these woes a working mom, a famous dad who cooks inedible meals and a pet goldfish who can do tricks. Yee really understands children's thought processes and presents them with tact and good humor. Bobby's dilemmas and adventures, however wild and out of control, remain totally believable. Santat's drawings manage the fine line between cartoon and realism and add dimension to the events. Readers will recognize themselves and learn some gentle lessons about relationships while they are laughing at the antics. (Fiction. 7-10) Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2009 August #5

When Bobby enters fourth grade, he learns that it's more important than ever to keep his longtime friendship with Holly a secret ("We used to be sorta-best friends, only these days she's my enemy," he admits to his goldfish). Using humor and relatable situations, Yee (Absolutely, Maybe) shows how the two friends manage to support each other, despite peer pressure. Hurtful accidents--like when Holly lets it slip that she's seen Bobby wearing curlers, and when Bobby's picture of Holly with horns and a mustache appears on the classroom wall--add tension to the already strained relationship. But when Bobby and Holly run against each other for student council rep, their loyalties prove stronger than their grudges. Santat's expressive b&w illustrations evoke the energy of Saturday morning cartoons, and Yee's occasional inclusion of some over-the-top moments (several nervous parents hide in the bushes on the first day of school to see their kids off) only drives the feeling home. The bright prose, concise chapters and gratifying resolutions are likely to please even reluctant readers. Ages 7-10. (Sept.)

[Page 58]. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2009 November

Gr 2-4--Fourth-grader Bobby Ellis-Chan definitely has some things working against him. His father, an ex-linebacker for the Los Angeles Earthquakes, attracts the attention of fans everywhere they go. It's embarrassing. His parents adore his bratty little sister, his asthma makes it impossible to have a pet with fur, and the family dryer causes him to suffer from static cling--funny to others but not to him. There are some good things about his life, though. He has a goldfish that he's taught to do tricks and, although it isn't considered cool to have a friend of the opposite sex, he and his best friend, Holly, are able to hide their friendship from peers who are deeply entrenched in the "girls vs. boys" mindset. Funny and smart dialogue describes perfectly the interaction that makes the battle of the sexes ring true. Bobby unwittingly plays into the boys' plan to one-up the girls every time, and in the process distances himself from Holly. Kids will identify with much of this interplay since Yee's situations and clever text are so accurate. The friendship issue works itself out as Holly's and Bobby's true feelings for one another rise above the game-playing. Although this is lighthearted fare, the author adds a somber note with the loss of Bobby's beloved pet goldfish and the family's sensitive handling of it. This element may provide an opportunity for discussion for families reading the story aloud.--Tina Martin, Arlington Heights Memorial Library, IL

[Page 91]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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