Little Bigfoot, Big City: The Littlest Bigfoot, Book 2

Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
Little Bigfoot, Big City: The Littlest Bigfoot, Book 2 Book Poster Image
Tender, wise look at tested friendship amid paranormal plot.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Strong messages about using inclusive, considerate language and shared responsibility to put effort into close friendships. Thoughtful look at the way social media can disrupt important relationships and sow self-doubt and confusion.

Positive Messages

Taking responsibility for poor behavior and working to do better can mend frayed relationships. The reality of a dream coming true can be more complicated -- and less wonderful -- than you might have expected. Tackle a scary or overwhelming challenge by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable steps. Parents may have sides to them you don't see, and their stories could surprise you.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The children are all smart, driven, and persistent. Millie eventually recognizes how her focus on her own passion is damaging an important friendship and takes steps to repair it. Alice forges new alliances to try to learn about her past. Jeremy feels conflicted and heartsick over his difficult, compromised position but hopes he can both secure fame for himself and keep his family and his new friends safe. Adults confide stories about their pasts that help them reconnect with their kids. Children lie to caring adults to go on a trip without permission.

Violence & Scariness

Children are followed, kidnapped, assaulted, threatened, intimidated, and harassed by adults. Retelling of incident where Yare woman was shot and held captive. Twice strangers try to strong-arm children into vehicles. Child taunted by classmates. Child drugs adult with sleep-inducing herbs.

Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Little Bigfoot, Big City -- the second in Jennifer Weiner's The Littlest Bigfoot series centered on the relationship between two girls who feel like misfits -- explores loyalty and friendship and digs deep into mother-daughter relationships. Alice (raised in a human family) and Millie (who feels like a misfit in the Yare, or Bigfoot, tribe) find their friendship strained by time apart, distraction, and conflicting interests. A secret government organization is a menacing element, manipulating the children and their families and sowing distrust and confusion. A child is pursued by a man who orders him into his van and abuses his trust to gain information. A parent gets tipsy on champagne at a celebratory gathering.

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What's the story?

Alice, 12, wants to know whether she's really one of the secretive Yare, or Bigfoots, as LITTLE BIGFOOT, BIG CITY begins. To her frustration, her Yare friend Millie isn't supportive -- she's set on getting onto a nationally televised talent contest, working with a classmate Alice neither likes nor trusts. For help, Alice reaches out to Jeremy, a dogged Bigfoot hunter. His efforts to prove the Yare exist left him publicly humiliated and feeling guilty for putting the girls in the spotlight. Even worse, a secretive government agency is harassing his family to try to get him to help them find the Yare. Jeremy thinks he has a shot at being famous for finding the Yare while also protecting Millie and Alice -- until it all goes horribly wrong.

Is it any good?

The close bond between two misfit girls -- one in the human world, the other in a Bigfoot village -- is strained nearly to the breaking point in the second book in Jennifer Weiner's sensitive series. After bonding over their shared feeling that they don't belong, Alice and Millie are pulled apart by their pursuit of very different goals in Little Bigfoot, Big City. Newcomers to the series will catch up quickly, but readers of the first book will better appreciate the emotional depth.

Weiner is strongest when she probes the acute pain of losing faith in a friend and seeing your good intentions harm others. The diverse characters -- spanning gender, ethnicity, and ability -- allow her to reinforce explicit and subtle lessons on compassion. The plot takes some jarring turns toward an abrupt cliffhanger, and some of the developments raise troubling questions (why would a loving parent create an emotionally distant facade?). But Weiner's skill with her characters' emotional lives makes it worth the sometimes bumpy ride.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Millie's uneasy feelings about social media in Little Bigfoot, Big City. Do you feel pressure to be active on social media? How do you feel after spending time on social media? (For help, see our advice on helping a social media-obsessed child.)

  • When Millie neglects Alice, Alice assumes she's been cast aside. Have you ever drifted apart from a friend? Did either of you try to fix your friendship?

  • Children are in some very uncomfortable -- and dangerous -- situations with unfamiliar adults. What could you do if an adult tried to pressure you to do something against your will?

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