A thoroughly enjoyable Bigfoot story with a green message.



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


Page Count: -

Publisher: Dog Ear Publisher

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2014

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


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

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A witty addition to the long-running series.


From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 15

The Wimpy Kid hits the road.

The Heffley clan has been stuck living together in Gramma’s basement for two months, waiting for the family home to be repaired, and the constant togetherness has been getting on everybody’s nerves. Luckily Greg’s Uncle Gary has a camper waiting for someone to use it, and so the Heffleys set off on the open road looking for an adventurous vacation, hoping the changing scenery will bring a spark back to the family unit. The winding road leads the Heffleys to a sprawling RV park, a setting teeming with possibilities for Greg to get up to his usual shenanigans. Greg’s snarky asides and misadventures continue to entertain. At this point the Wimpy Kid books run like a well-oiled machine, paced perfectly with witty lines, smart gags, and charming cartoons. Kinney knows just where to put a joke, the precise moment to give a character shading, and exactly how to get the narrative rolling, spinning out the oddest plot developments. The appreciation Kinney has for these characters seeps through the novels, endearing the Heffleys to readers even through this title, the 15th installment in a franchise boasting spinoffs, movies, and merchandise. There may come a time when Greg and his family overstay their welcome, but thankfully that day still seems far off.

A witty addition to the long-running series. (Humor. 7-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4868-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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