Dave Jenkinson is Associate Dean of the Faculty of Education at the
University of Manitoba.
Social realism and fantasy elements are awkwardly blended in this
slow-moving work that loosely revolves about the theme of competing uses
of the natural environment. Siblings and best friends Maya and Jake
Langhorne (12 and 11, respectively) live with their parents on a farm
bordering the forests of the Cascade Mountains. Having found a book on
lucid dreaming or dream-flying the juvenile pair have independently
“flown” while asleep. During their dream-flights, both have seen a
bigfoot or sasquatch. Their “discovery” receives heightened import
when they learn that old man Sidder plans to log the sasquatches’
territory. From the area’s adults, the children learn that logging
this tract, “one of the last remnants of the ancient western
wildwood,” will also threaten the larger environment because the lands
to be logged constitute the watershed for the whole valley.
Deciding to “solve” the problem themselves, Maya and Jake sabotage
the logging equipment by draining the oil from the machines’ engines.
Later, the duo learn that the logging issue is multidimensional:
Sidder’s activities do have positive economic and social effects. This
causes them to re-evaluate their destructive activities. Because they
also feel that their well-intentioned but illegal actions have betrayed
their parents’ trust, they surreptitiously replace the drained oil.
The book’s open-ended conclusion finds Maya and Jake collaborating on
an “educative” bigfoot comic strip for the community’s weekly
The intended audience (readers in grades 3 to 6) may initially be
intrigued by the enticing title and cover art, but most will lose
interest long before the book finally meanders to its flat ending.