As we leave the wild mountains and head back to (so-called) civilization this morning, I’m convinced that Ashley Spires‘ Larf captures that disorienting journey just right, with lots of easy laughter offered on every page. Re-entry always requires maintaining a sense of humor!
Larf thinks he might be the world’s only sasquatch. He’s a seven-foot-tall vegetarian who has a preference for red scarves. He jogs, he gardens. He lives with his bunny-friend Eric somewhere far in the snow-capped mountains. Nobody knows that Larf exists, and “he likes it that way.”
Until … reading the newspaper one morning, he sees an article claiming the upcoming appearance of a sasquatch in the nearby city. Curiosity – and the possibility of hanging out with someone of his own kind – makes him reluctantly head out of the wilds …
He does his best to fit in (he’s “a master of camouflage,” after all), but with fur and feet like that, strangers tend to take notice. “All the activity, all the people and all the noise was making things worse. Larf can hardly see straight, let alone think straight, in all this hubbub.” [I know just how he feels, too!] But Larf perseveres … and his tenacity eventually leads to a promising (beastly) meeting.
While Spires’ storytelling is adorably amusing, her illustrations are even better. Her much-appreciated, subversive humor is evident throughout: a hapa family watches Larf-footage on their tiny television as the potato-munching father comments, “Aunt Mildred?” and the know-it-all son glibly declares, “A computer-generated fake”; Larf squeezes into skinny jeans for his city trek, strapping tiny bunny Eric into a baby front-pack contraption for the journey; Larf gets mistaken yet again by a passerby at the ticket booth for Aunt Mildred (definitely don’t want to meet her in a dark alley!); the city bus depot fills with a multi-culti menagerie of passengers trying not to stare, including the pigeons. For careful sleuths, Spires playfully draws hints into each scene from Larf”s city arrival until he’s ready to leave, as to what – or who – is coming, cleverly adding another layer of interaction with her younger readers.
Now if only going back to reality could be even half the fun … ah, life …!