The author of one of the easiest-to-read and most popular reading series has died.
Bobby (Bob) Lynn Maslen, 87, author of the Bob Books, died August 16 in Portland, OR, of Alzheimer’s disease.
Mrs. Madden created the first Bob Book in the 1970’s when she was teaching reading to preschoolers. One day she took typing paper, folded it in quarters, and asked her students to help her write a story.
The result was the first Bob Book. It comprised about 12 pages and used just a handful of letters which spelled CVC words. “Mat sat. Sam sat. Mat sat on Sam. Sam sat on Mat.” Mrs. Maslen stapled the pages together and sent the books home with her students to reread and to color.
The illustrations were almost as simple as the stories. Eventually, Mrs. Maslen standardized her books into three sets of 12 books each. She printed hundreds of copies and packaged them into little sandwich bags for her students.
Demand for her books grew. Mrs. Maslen’s husband, an artist, provided new drawings. The books were published by Portland State University, then by the Maslens themselves, and later by Scholastic. Today more than 16 million books are in print, according to Scholastic.