By Ashley Spires
Published by Kids Can Press
Copyright © 2012
I have always had an affinity for the Sasquatch legend. I will freely admit that there is a little part of me that believes that Sasquatch is out there. But even if they aren’t, to believe in them is to retain that sense of unexplainable wonderment in the natural world. So when I saw “Larf,” by Ashley Spires, in our latest children’s book order I knew I had to read it.
Larf, as you may have guessed, is a Sasquatch. He likes the fact that no one knows he exists, and even when they see him they don’t really believe he exists. Larf is the only Sasquatch in the world and he loves his privacy.
While reading the newspaper one day he reads an article that says that “a Sasquatch is scheduled to make an appearance today in the nearby city of Hunderfitz.” Larf wonders how this could be, and then he wonders how this could affect him. Larf has no choice; he must go to Hunderfitz to see this Sasquatch. Larf is in for a surprise.
The story of Larf is cute. As much as I hate the word “cute” there is no other word that fits. There is no deep layer of morality to this tale it is just cute. Sure you could look at it as a tale about getting out of your own head and letting others in so that we can make friends, but that is merely an aside to the cuteness.
Fortunately, “cute” is not the only thing that “Larf” has going for it. This story is very humorous. Most of this humor shows up in the illustrations. Spires’ line art is reminiscent of the work of Craig Bartlett on the Nickelodeon cartoon “Hey, Arnold” (which I loved), but she lightens it up and makes it more whimsical and fluffy with her use of what seems to be water color. The funny comes not just in her way of drawing people and Larf, but in the way she juxtaposes the text of the story with the illustrations. For instance when we read “Larf knows no one would ever leave him alone if they found out he was real.” And then we see an illustration with his face on the cover of magazines, newspapers, and tabloids with the addition of a book featuring his pet bunny Eric on the cover with the title “Bigfoot’s Bunny: Shocking Tell-All Memoir.” It made me laugh.
In addition to the humor, if you pay close attention to the illustrations Spires shows us what is coming at the end of the story, but you really have to read the pictures. So this makes a great little activity for kids while reading this book, especially the second time around.
This book will definitely get five stars on my book sharing accounts. It will be a welcome addition to the story time rotation for children’s groups or individual children ages 3 and up.