cover image Uncle Bigfoot

Uncle Bigfoot

George O'Connor, . . Roaring Brook/Porter, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-59643-271-0

A funny thing happened on the way to the gene pool, as far as O'Connor's (Sally and the Some-Thing ) narrator is concerned: he got an Uncle Bernie who bears a striking resemblance to a yeti. Said uncle is so big that it takes an entire gatefold to capture his huge body, and so hairy that it takes seven comic strip–style frames to survey all his hirsuteness. As an illustrator, O'Connor is better at evoking the precocious narrator and his hipster family than he is at capturing Uncle Bernie; the big galoot looks more creepy/derelict than endearingly odd. Yet O'Connor is definitely on to something: most kids have at least one relative they deem weird (the narrator ultimately discovers that he has at least two). And even children whose bloodlines are disappointingly normal will enjoy coasting along with the breezy storytelling, which combines the slapstick of a funny graphic novel with the heartwarming irreverence of a Disney Channel original movie (the group-hug moral: “There are a lot of people in the world and all of them have something a little different about them too”). Visual jokes in the backgrounds—a framed photo of the family posed near a “Welcome to Roswell” sign; a notebook labeled “Crop Circles”—will keep older readers amused as well. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)