A boy comes face to face with Bigfoot and brings down an unscrupulous coal mining company in Fouch’s imaginative middle-grade debut.
Walter Preston, nicknamed “Little” by his amiable grandmother, is a bit of a loner who prefers animals for company. In fact, like his namesake, Dr. Dolittle, he has the ability to hear and understand animal speech. One summer, while exploring the local forest with his beloved dog, Boomer, he stumbles across a giant footprint, which soon leads to a sighting of the creature it belongs to—Bigfoot. Little’s dad is not impressed. Stories of Bigfoot are mythical; the creature does not exist. But the boy is determined to find the truth, and Grammy, suspecting her grandson has hidden powers, is right behind him. When “Big” saves the boy from a bear attack, Little feels he owes his new friend a favor. Soon he is on a mission to find out what is making the giant feel ill. The well-told story engages with enough suspense to keep the reader guessing about the mythical sasquatch’s fate. The novel is essentially an environmental fable. Bigfoot symbolizes the Earth, which, because of the mindless actions of a few greedy individuals, is being poisoned. At times, the environmental theme becomes intrusive and reads like an excerpt from a Greenpeace manifesto: “Little explained how humans had ways of using the Earth’s resources that created what he called ‘by-products’ sometimes ones that were destructive,” but on the whole, the author does a fair job of managing the didacticism. Bubbeo’s cartoonlike black-and-white drawings set the atmosphere and introduce the chapters.
A thoroughly enjoyable Bigfoot story with a green message.