CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 32 . . . . April 20, 2012
Larf is a delightful picture book about a sasquatch who lives in self-imposed anonymity in the woods with his bunny, Eric. Larf, believing he is the only Sasquatch in existence, is surprised to see a newspaper article advertising a Sasquatch appearance. Puzzled, he decides to journey to the big city of Hunderfitz to check things out for himself. When Larf arrives in Hunderfitz, he discovers the Sasquatch currently making appearances is a fake. Feeling disheartened, Larf is pleasantly surprised to encounter a sasquatch named Shurl and her pet bird, Patricia, while waiting for the bus to take him home.
The author has made a seemingly intimidating and imposing legendary creature very human, loveable, and believable. Larf spends his days jogging, taking his friend Eric for a walk, and gardening. When travelling to the city in disguise, seven-foot-tall Larf is stylishly dressed with his beret, scarf, and Eric in a snugly.
Spires’ text, set in Giggles Wiggles BTN font, is humorous and playful, underscoring Larf’s innocence and naivety throughout. The point of view is from the third person, but of note is Spire’s use of questions to encourage thought and engage the reader. While the faces of the characters are somewhat expressionless, the colourful illustrations and actions are a perfect complement to the text. Further demonstrating the author’s sense of humour is Spire’s comment on the copyright page that the book “is vegetarian, vegan and sasquatch friendly”.
Larf teaches young readers that it is important for someone to try to master her/his fears and trepidations in order to explore a world of possibilities. Leaving his comfort zone in search of another Sasquatch affords Larf the opportunity to potentially share a teeter-totter, grooming tips, and his “witty commentary” on cheesy movies.
Harriet Minuk is a librarian at Winnipeg Public Library in Winnipeg, MB.
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