A thoroughly enjoyable Bigfoot story with a green message.

LITTLE & BIG

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.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Dog Ear Publisher

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Little Blue Truck keeps on truckin’—but not without some backfires.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S VALENTINE

Little Blue Truck feels, well, blue when he delivers valentine after valentine but receives nary a one.

His bed overflowing with cards, Blue sets out to deliver a yellow card with purple polka dots and a shiny purple heart to Hen, one with a shiny fuchsia heart to Pig, a big, shiny, red heart-shaped card to Horse, and so on. With each delivery there is an exchange of Beeps from Blue and the appropriate animal sounds from his friends, Blue’s Beeps always set in blue and the animal’s vocalization in a color that matches the card it receives. But as Blue heads home, his deliveries complete, his headlight eyes are sad and his front bumper droops ever so slightly. Blue is therefore surprised (but readers may not be) when he pulls into his garage to be greeted by all his friends with a shiny blue valentine just for him. In this, Blue’s seventh outing, it’s not just the sturdy protagonist that seems to be wilting. Schertle’s verse, usually reliable, stumbles more than once; stanzas such as “But Valentine’s Day / didn’t seem much fun / when he didn’t get cards / from anyone” will cause hitches during read-alouds. The illustrations, done by Joseph in the style of original series collaborator Jill McElmurry, are pleasant enough, but his compositions often feel stiff and forced.

Little Blue Truck keeps on truckin’—but not without some backfires. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-358-27244-1

Page Count: 20

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

WRECKING BALL

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

Did you like this book?

more