By Ashley Spires
(Kids Can Press, 2012)
While vacationing in Whistler, I spotted a sasquatch! Not on a trail or overtaking a gondola. It was in the library, of course, on the cover of a picture book prominently displayed in the children’s section. Naturally, I had to take a closer look.
Yes, it seems that the sasquatch is no hoax. Indeed, there is one living sasquatch in the world and he is a laundry-obsessed vegetarian named Larf who lives in a cabin in the woods with his pet rabbit, Eric. In accordance with legend, he’s extremely tall, extremely hair and has extremely big feet. (But the legend never spoke of Larf’s flashy red scarf.)
Larf likes his quiet existence. Just thinking about how he’d become a spectacle if he were ever captured makes him break into a sweat. He does what he can to avoid too-curious humans.
But then he comes across a news story about a sasquatch making an appearance in the city of Hunderfitz. This startles Larf. Could it be that he is not the only sasquatch? He travels to the city, as incognito as an extremely tall, extremely hairy, extremely big-footed beast can. What will happen if and when Larf finally meets another of his kind?
Like The ShyCreatures, this book is another conversation starter about legendary creatures and about being different. As I came to the double-page spread where Spires shows how the sasquatch appearance is turned into a tacky tourist attraction, complete with vendors selling Bigfoot Burgers and stuffed animal sasquatches, I thought of the Dionnequintuplets, the Elephant Man and Knut the polar bear. These would also make worthy research topics to connect with the book. Why must we turn rarities and natural marvels into shameless roadside attractions? What actually happens when the fascination fades? How should these “wonders” be regarded in a way that is respectful?
There is also a strong message about the joy of solitary endeavors and the sometimes competing need for a real connection—companionship—with someone who is like you. Just like Larf, we all need to discover our own uniqueness while also finding a likeness in others.