The Art of Getting Noticed

Penguin Workshop. (Bigfoot and Nessie: Bk. 1). Feb. 2023. 64p. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9780593385722.
Gr 2-4–Unlike his fame-seeking family, young cryptid Bigfoot Littletoe’s attempts to photobomb campers’ selfies always result in disaster. After a mysteriously disguised long-necked creature named Nessie rescues him from his latest effort, they bond at a campfire and decide to figure out what Bigfoot enjoys when not chasing the limelight. Exploring different activities like chalk drawing and scrapbooking eventually leads Bigfoot to a newfound appreciation of hedge sculpting. His incredibly realistic sculptures attract unexpected fame for Bigfoot and unwanted attention for Nessie. Young Bigfoot must now decide what is more important—fame or friendship? In this short but sweet graphic novel, Campbell and Knetzger emphasize themes of creativity, uniqueness, and camaraderie. Young readers will appreciate the overall messaging of finding your niche and doing something because you enjoy it, not because of external attention. Nessie’s aversion to attention is also relatable. The cute, chibi-reminiscent character design and cheery palette are a great fit for the story, helping to introduce the concept of cryptids in an engaging and humorous manner to audiences who might not otherwise be familiar with them. The wordless panels where Bigfoot and Nessie try out different hobbies are a standout and particularly neat, and the variety of creatures add to the visual interest. Secondary human characters present as diverse. It is not inherently obvious that cryptids and humans exist peacefully together; hopefully, any future sequels might explore Bigfoot and Nessie’s world further.
VERDICT An enjoyable introduction to legends of Bigfoot and Nessie that is certainly worth noticing. Recommended for public and school libraries.

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