The Littlest Bigfoot: The Littlest Bigfoot, Book 1

Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
The Littlest Bigfoot: The Littlest Bigfoot, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Misfits find common ground, friendship in quirky fantasy.

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Strong message about diversity in all forms and seeing people for who they are and not just what they appear to be. Everyone has something that makes them feel different. Clear warnings about lack of privacy online.

Positive Messages

Most people have a unique trait someone else might consider weird -- and still others might regard as an asset. Your own self-image can blind you to friendship. A flaw in one person's eyes can be an attribute in another's.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Alice and Millie admire and support each other with empathy and reassurance. The adults at the learning center are caring and compassionate, invested in the well-being of each of their students. Millie's parents are deeply caring and attentive, and her entire tribe is involved in her upbringing. Alice and Jeremy's parents are emotionally neglectful and cold, and both children are very self-reliant.

Violence & Scariness

Group of kids successfully schemes to take photo of a classmate naked, then post the image on a Snapchat-like site and tack up paper copies around school. Yare tribe fears being hunted by gun-wielding people. A mob gathers to track down a Bigfoot creature.

Language

Kids insult each other as "freak."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Littlest Bigfoot is the first in a trilogy -- and it's the first children's book debut by Jennifer Weiner, best known for far more adult fare (Good in Bed). This gentle novel is a light fantasy about the kinship between two girls who feel like outcasts in their families: One is a girl in the human world, and the other is designated to lead her secretive Bigfoot tribe one day. Bullies take a photo of a girl naked and broadcast it -- on paper and online -- to humiliate her. A child defies her family's fundamental rules for safety and puts herself and her community in danger. A rowdy crowd that has gathered to track down a Bigfoot includes adults drinking beer, some of whom get rough with a child in a wheelchair.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byCourtney S. October 16, 2017

Inappropriate for Upper Elementary and Middle School Children

As an educator of children in upper elementary and early middle school grades, I strongly consider it unwise to introduce the subject of "sexting" or... Continue reading

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What's the story?

THE LITTLEST BIGFOOT is Millie, a child in the Yare tribe hidden in a New York forest. The tribe survives by being secret and silent, but Millie -- an aspiring singer -- is desperate to be part of the No-Furs' world. Her curiosity leads her closer and closer to the Experimental Center for Love and Learning. Alice, a new student at the school, feels rejected by her parents and her peers for both her physical appearance and her personality. When Alice rescues Millie from the lake, the girls quickly bond. Millie defies her family to pursue a friendship with Alice, who is grateful and touched by her first real friend. But their secret rendezvous draw the attention of dogged Bigfoot-hunters -- and threaten the Yare tribe's very existence.

Is it any good?

In her first children's book, Jennifer Weiner sensitively explores the painfully self-conscious tween years through the eyes of three children who feel friendless and unwelcome in their own families. The Littlest Bigfoot shines brightest when Weiner describes her characters' acute loneliness and misery and the inner strengths they've cultivated to cope. But the plot revs up slowly -- the girls don't meet until the halfway point, and Jeremy's story is shoehorned in to prop up a storyline.

This is more a friendship tale than a fantasy, as the Yare aren't much unlike humans -- and that's the point. The core of the story is its strong message about respecting people who seem different and appreciating that they have strengths and struggles unseen by you. The rousing themes of self-worth and appreciating differences are slightly undermined by the smirking portrayal of adults at the experimental school, who are the only adults to embrace Alice and Mille with unquestioning support.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the humiliating photo of Alice circulated by her classmates in The Littlest Bigfoot. What would be the reaction if an incident like that occurred at your school? Do you use -- or know kids who use -- social media like Snapchat?

  • Jeremy and Jo both say, "On the Internet, everything lives forever." Do you keep this in mind when you're online? How do you protect your privacy

  • Would this story work if Millie were just a human girl with a health condition who lived in an isolated community?

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