CM . . . . Volume XIX Number 15 . . . . December 14, 2012
Barnabas Bigfoot finds himself in another hairy armpit when the baldface hunters arrive at his home in the mountains to continue their hunt for Sasquatch in A Hairy Tangle, the second book in "The Barnabas Bigfoot" series. This time, the determined baldfaces capture Barnabas' crush, Hannah Hairyson, through the treachery of another Sasquatch family, the Dogwoods. Barnabas' attempt at saving Hannah finds them both trapped on an island with the baldfaces and the mysterious and vicious chupacabras. Luckily, they also find a friend who has a long and complicated history with the Sasquatches in the mountains – Lysander, the lonely lycanthrope who has also been captured by the greedy baldfaces.
By the time the three unlikely friends make it back to the mountains, Hannah and Barnabas have learned some important Sasquatch history including who the dreaded Bone Eater is, thus setting up the third book in the series. Unfortunately, like many middle books in a trilogy, A Hairy Tangle's narrative arc is somewhat flat, feeling more like a travelogue and history lesson than a stand-alone novel. The cliffhanger in the first book remains unresolved, but the reader now has some of the backstory that will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in the yet-released third book.
Barnabas continues to develop as a character as the reader learns about his feelings for Hannah and watches his compassion and loyalty for his new friend Lysander. Chan also keeps the plot moving with chases, treachery, and new dangers for Barnabas and his friends to face. Ultimately, the success of this book, and the entire series, rests on Chan's ability to carry the arc of the plot through to the third part of his tale and how well all the pieces of this puzzle come together.
A Hairy Tangle further develops the Sasquatch society that Chan created so successfully in the first book, Barnabas Bigfoot: A Close Shave, but without having read A Close Shave, the present offering may fall flat with many students.
Jonine Bergen is a librarian in Winnipeg, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.