Larf

Ashley Spires
No one believes Larf exists, and he likes it that way. Larf, you see, is a sasquatch, the only sasquatch in the world (or so it seems). He has a very pleasant, and very private, life in the woods, where on any given day he might be found jogging, gardening or walking Eric, his pet bunny. But everything changes one morning when Larf discovers that another sasquatch is scheduled to make an appearance in the nearby city of Hunderfitz. What?! That must mean he's not the only sasquatch in the world! Excited by the prospect of having a friend to share hair grooming tips with (and let's face it, teeter-tottering alone is no fun), Larf disguises himself as a city slicker and heads for Hunderfitz -- where he's in for a couple enormous surprises. Ashley Spires once again shows her chops for creating irresistible, quirky characters and laugh-aloud stories and illustrations. Readers with little feet and big feet will fall head over heels for Larf.

Reviews

Reviewed: 2020-12-01

Larf is a story of friendship with an interest level of preschool through third grade. The illustrations are “rendered in vegetable-based watercolor, biodegradable ink, recycled paper collage…” – a clue to the nature of the main character and his gentle personality. Larf is a seven-foot-tall, shy, vegetarian sasquatch who “lives a quiet life in the woods with his bunny Eric.” He enjoys the isolation, yet when he reads that a sasquatch is to appear in a nearby city, he cannot resist the temptation to meet another of his kind. The possibility of being able to teeter-totter adds to the lure of a potential friendship. While the advertised sasquatch proves to be a fake, Larf does encounter a real sasquatch named Shurl who has a pet bird named Patricia. In accepting Larf’s invitation to come for supper the following week, Shurl says, “But I should tell you, neither Patricia nor I eat meat.” Although the author doesn’t say so, it appears that Larf and Shurl’s story is headed for a happy-ever-after ending. Larf’s story line has similarities to Shrek’s, yet Larf is far cuddlier and more outwardly appealing than William Steig’s famous ogre. All those who feel the tug of friendship will understand Larf’s willingness to venture outside his comfortable isolation on the chance of finding a friend. And those who perceive themselves as different will be drawn to Larf’s story and its comforting outcome. As a read-aloud, Larf offers opportunities to discuss differences and acceptance and the qualities that form a foundation for friendship. I recommend this book for all libraries and classrooms that serve preschool through early elementary pre-readers and readers.

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