Picturebook Review: Larf by Ashley Spires

Larf, written and illustrated by Ashley Spires, is a fun picturebook about a lonely Sasquatch named Larf. He spends his days with his pet bunny Eric, and is content hiding from people. He is pretty good at hiding, although he has almost been caught a few times. One day he reads the paper to find that a Sasquatch is scheduled to make a public appearance in town. He knows that he has not agreed to make such an appearance, since it is scheduled for his laundry day, but he wonders if this might be his chance to met someone like him. After traveling quite a ways, and riding the bus, Larf is disappointed to find the 'Sasquatch' making an appearance is a fake and resigned himself to staying alone. While waiting for the bus home, Larf and Eric are joined on the bench by Shurl and Patricia, who share similar motives for being in town on that day.

Larf is a fun book. The Sasquatch character is cute and quirky. Who would have imagined that Bigfoot might have a pet bunny? The artwork is a perfect pairing to the words and emotions, and according to a note from the author in the book is created from "vegetable-based watercolor, biodegradable ink, recycled paper collage and a dollop of Organic Sasquatch Detangler and Conditioning Shampoo". Beyond the fun of finding Bigfoot in a picturebook, particularly one as charming as Larf, there are deeper levels on which readers might relate to the story. Those of us that are introverts, shy, or typically content at being unattached individuals can closely relate to Larf. Even the most introverted child, or adult, still needs interaction and to feel a connection with others. Just like Larf, who thinks himself content all by himself until he is offered the hope of finding someone like himself, on some level we all want at least one person out there that will understand and accept us.

I highly recommend Larf to children and adults. It would be great for sharing with kids, one on one or in a storytime environment, age 3 and older. The story and the artwork are highly enjoyable and the story can be enjoyed for the basic story or deeper levels. It can be used to start discussions about respecting people for their differences, personality styles, and friendship.
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