2014/06/07 by rmstrong1980
School reading has changed a lot since I was a kid. Gone today are most of the “fun” reading assignments, abandoned in favor of non-fiction. Sure, the school library still carries a large section of fiction, but most reading the schools encourage now is non-fiction.
Except for the Battle of the Books. Some states, such as my home state of Oregon, encourage kids from third grade to high school to read the same fiction books and then answer trivia questions about them, competing with other classes and other schools.
Sasquatch, by Roland Smith, is one of those books. As Oregon Battle Of the Books (OBOB) liaison for my son’s school I felt the need to read all of the Grade 3 – 5 books so that I will be able to properly help kids find books they want to read. I picked the perfect book to start out with.
Fourteen-year-old Dylan Hickock knew that something was up when he and his dad put his mom on an airplane to Egypt. His dad had come home from a camping trip on the slopes of Mount Saint Helens… different a few months before. He always “tinkered” (one might call it, “obsessed”) over one subject or another, learning everything there is to know, but when Dylan’s mom left the country to finish her PhD in Egyptology, life got interesting.
Bill Hickock drags Dylan to a B.F.I. (Bigfoot International) meeting and everything changes. Turns out, Bill’s life was saved by what he believed was a Sasquatch on that camping trip. When B.F.I. brings in someone to try and hunt down and kill the Bigfoot that Dylan’s dad had seen, Bill feels like he owes the Sasquatch and joins up in an attempt to thwart B.F.I.’s plans.
When Bill leaves with the eccentric and dangerous B.F.I. team, Dylan heads up the mountain with Buckley Johnson, a friend they meet along the way. Buck, who has his own secrets, also wants to keep the Sasquatch safe. The three of them soon discover, though, that they don’t only have to contend with the team from B.F.I., but also an angry, ash-spewing volcano. Helens is waking up again.
It is always fun to read a book set in your home state, and your home city. Sasquatch is set in Portland, Oregon, and the slopes of Mount Saint Helens. Smith also is able to tie in the local D.B. Cooper mythology in a fun and interesting way.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a quick read. At 188 pages, it only took a few hours from start to finish, and I had to force myself to put the book down in order to get sleep. It is perfect for the Grade 3 – 5 age group for which it was chosen. It is published by Hyperion Books for Children and is mostly free from grammatical and punctuation errors, although I did find two.
Some of the technology mentioned in the book is dated, but is, of course, all appropriate for a book written in 1998. All in all, Sasquatch is a fun read and is a good introduction for young Oregonians to some of the local color.