Bob and the River of Time


"This wonderful story, beautifully illustrated with an endearing cast of characters, manages to cleverly combine storytelling with activity and learning in a deft and delightful way."

Kate Humble

Meet Bob as he journeys along the magical River Mumbles, which flows through Grumbledown. The river takes Bob on an unexpected, topsy-turvy journey through the seasons, where he encounters a host of different animals and plants. Bob learns to keep smiling, even though he's not sure what's around the next bend.

Bob and the River of Time introduces children to the beauty and wonder of wildlife and nature. Bob discovers the changing seasons, different types of weather and a huge variety of plant and animal life. On Bob's journey, he sees a host of different animals, creepy crawlies, birds, flowers, vegetables and trees. The book is packed with interesting facts, meaning children can learn more as they discover the different critters. The beautiful illustrations and attention to detail ensure that each time you open the book you'll discover something new. There is a key in the back of the book to show you where all the colourful characters are hiding, in case you're really stuck!

Join Bob as he learns to be mindful and maintain a positive outlook, even when he isn't sure where the river is taking him. The calming flow of the story will send children to a place of tranquil and inspired imagination. The story is ideal for relaxing bedtime reading, but hunting for and learning about all of the creatures will provide hours of additional fun. Searching for the many creatures and plants within the book is a great way to focus a child's mind, especially if their mind has a tendency to wander.

After his journey, Bob learns one of the most simple, eloquent and powerful lessons life can teach. Bob and the River of Time is a fantastical, educational picture book written and illustrated by James Garner. It is a charming, colourful, fun short story ideal for entertaining and inspiring children.

"An adrenaline-fuelled white-knuckle ride." Parsley the Snail

"There isn t a single car in the whole book so it s a thumbs up from me!" Gemma the Hedgehog

"I was really enjoying it up until I got eaten." Alex the Worm

Bob and the River of Time's Summer pages showing UK animals and plants in an educational child friendly format

Parsley the Snail

Parsley the Snail sitting on a fly amanita mushroom looking surprised

"An adrenaline-fuelled white-knuckle ride."

Gemma the Hedgehog

Gemma the Hedgehog looking spikey and cute

"There isn t a single car in the whole book so it's a thumbs up from me!"

Alex the Worm

Alex the Worm about to be eaten by a hungry moorhen and looking anxious

"I was really enjoying it up until I got eaten."

James Garner not the movie star from the great escape but the author and illustrator of many beautiful children's books


James was born in Farnborough, Kent in 1977 and lived in the village of Eynsford, Dartford where he showed signs of creativity from an early age. Aged seven James moved with his family to Maidstone, Kent where they lived in a run-down water mill which his Father converted in the coming years. The setting played a huge part in the inspiration of James' first book "Bob and the River of Time"

During his time in Maidstone, James exhibited and sold much of his portrait work in local galleries and took a keen interest in the nature of reality which served as a great influence in honing different creative styles.

Now living in Suffolk, James carries on his creative passion, writing and illustrating more books as well as enjoying practical work such as carpentry, general building and decorating.

James started the story for 'Bob and the River of Time' in February 2011, it took him two days to write but another five years to illustrate in his spare time! Bob was published in September 2016 by Crown House Publishing.

"Childhood is inspiration for first book"

On the 23rd October 2016@louisa_laywrote an article about James and his inspiration for Bob and the River of Time for the Eastern Daily Press.Read it here

Follow James:

Twitter (@_jamesgarner)
Bob stuck on a frozen river surrounded by snow with winter animals and plants a cosy lodge in the background

Get yourself a copy of Bob and the River of Time

Bob is available to buy widely online and also at the following:

Crown House
Amazon UK
Amazon US
Barnes & Noble


Will, Malvern Book Co-operative:

"We found the book charming, educational and certain to inspire many children with a deeper a fascination with the world around them. Both James Garner and Crown House Publishing should be proud of what you’ve created."

Ian Porter, father of a bookworm daughter:

"A great read for young and old that captures your imagination and takes you on Bob’s journey with him. The detail and colour on each page will captivate all audiences and entertain for hours – so much more fun than looking for Wally!

Full of animals and characters which are so fun that kids will surely relate to and learn from them. Children can learn a lot about animals, the seasons and the weather. The story was so soothing and it is perfect for bedtime. All in all, a great book."

Kris Jeary, designer:

"Follow Bob as he journeys down the river and through a year, follow the changes in the weather and wildlife and learn how precious and fragile our riverbanks and countryside are. This beautifully illustrated and narrated book shows the wonder and beauty of the seasons. It contains so much detail you will still be spotting new things after the twentieth read through.

The cast of characters are fully introduced at the end of the story. This encourages young readers to find these characters – woodpeckers, swallows, ants and kingfishers – on their next countryside or riverside walk. Not only that, it taught this parent the difference between a coot and a moorhen.

You and your children will treasure this book for years to come. This is learning and this is fun."

John T Morris BA(Hons),MEd,MPhil,CertEd, Director at Ymgynghorwyr Addysg JTM Educational Consultants:

"James Garner has written and illustrated an enthralling story based on the adventures of Bob and a whole range of animals, birds, flowers, trees, vegetables and the exciting creepy crawlies. The thought provoking text and marvellous illustrations capture the thoughts and imaginations of both the listeners and the story teller. Listeners become engrossed as the text brings to life the wonders of the countryside and the seasons of the year. The reader’s knowledge and understanding of a vast range of facts are expertly supported in the ‘where are they hiding’ section which makes for active participation and enhances discussion.

This is a truly outstanding contribution to promote children’s knowledge of natural science and the countryside. Above all it creates an enthusiasm and excellent visual support for reading, discussion and practical activities to extend knowledge and understanding of nature."

Kate Stansfield, mother of two:

"My views: I thought that Bob and The River of Time was a beautifully illustrated heart-warming story. The writing had a gentle rhythm and flow to it which made it easy for my children to understand. The message of the story around life being similar to the river journey with plenty of things to stop and wonder at, along with the certainty of the passing seasons offering new beginnings, was really lovely and reassuring for bedtime reading. The illustrations are just stunning – amazing colours, variety and attention to detail and also a strong sense of nature and wildlife which both my children and I really enjoyed. There are so many children’s stories now that I groan at when I have to read them. This book is different – it’s a modern classic that I believe both parents and children can enjoy.

My children’s views: My children thought that the book was very colourful with lots of interesting things to look at. They particularly liked the “unusual secret” referred to at the beginning which they said was exciting and made them want to hear more. My 7 year old was comfortable reading it out loud and both children were totally engaged and interested for the whole story. They liked the “nice gardens” and seemed to really enjoy counting the animals and plants on each page. They also loved the facts and figures about the wildlife that Bob had encountered on his journey. I explained to them if they had understood what I felt was the meaning of the book (referred to above) and it was clear that they had. It was a definite hit."

Rowan Early, advertising writer, dad and chief kids’ book reader-outer:

"Children and adults alike will love the whimsical, charming tale of Bob and his meandering journey through the seasons in his little boat. James Garner has created a book that brilliantly celebrates the wonders of nature, the countryside and life’s simple pleasures. And, as he’s an artist too, he has gorgeously captured the ever-changing flora and fauna of the seasons in richly coloured, vibrant landscapes.

Aside from the wonderful story and illustrations, the book has an educational side. At the back, kids can discover interesting little facts about the many quirky-looking creatures hidden within the pages – got to love Gassy Gary, Whiffy William and Pungent Peter, the stinkbugs.

Bob and the River of Time is a delightful tale – old-fashioned in its telling, modern in its execution – that tells us to appreciate the beauty of life around us. It’s a book sure to put a smile on anyone’s face. In the words of my five-year-old boy, ‘It’s very, very, very fantastic.’"

Toppsta Reviewer:

"Really interesting, different book. We found it to be a perfect bedtime book, it encourages mindfulness and for the kids to take in the environment. Wonderful illustrations and packed full of info. Not the normal kids book. Try it!"

news - read all about it!


15th June 2019:

Drop 4 was a very Scenic one, I left it by the Cuckmere River in East Sussex where it flows out to the sea, again it was found by a gentleman who kindly posted about it onBob's Facebook Page.

Cuckmere Haven in Sussex where the river meets the sea and beachy head in the distance Cuckmere Haven footpath with a view of the white cliffs Bob Drop 4


09th April 2019:

Contact has been received from the recipient of Bob drop 2, this time I left it by the River Len in Otham Lane, Maidstone, Kent. Again, Bob has found himself in great hands, discovered by a very grateful lady who was out for an afternoon walk.

The River Len in Bearsted Maidstone Kent Bob Drop 2


14th March 2019:

Spring is fast approaching, officially 6 days to be precise! To mark the occasion I'll be leaving a signed and numbered copy of Bob at a random place in the UK. Inside will be one of the original pencil illustrations - it'll be a case of finders keepers! I'll be doing this 20 times over the course of the year, all in various places around the country and naturally all in (well trodden) countryside, by a river where possible - finishing up in Spring 2020.

Over on jolly old Facebook, 'Bob Facts' are going down well, feel free to take a lookHere


19th May 2019:

BobDrop 3 was another success! This time I left it by the ford outside my first home in Eynsford, Kent. This was a trickier drop as there were a few people around so I had to be sneaky! It was picked up by a lady who kindly posted about it onBob's Facebook Page.

The Old Mill in Eynsford Kent by the ford in the River Darent Bob Drop 3


20th March 2019:

Contact has been received from the recipients of Bob drop 1, I left it by the River Waveney in Bungay, Suffolk. It has gone to a great home, inhabited by the perfect audience - fingers crossed the next 19 are as successful!

The River Waveney in Bungay Suffolk with swans swimming on the water Bob Drop 1


05th March 2019:

The good people at Endeavour Magazine have written a wonderful review of Bob and the River of Time which went out in their February edition.

Feel free too take a look:Endeavour Review