Elwood Bigfoot: Wanted: Birdie Friends!
Author: Jill Esbaum
Illustrator: Nate Wragg
Published September 1st, 2015 by Sterling Children’s Books
Goodreads Summary: Elwood Bigfoot is big, clumsy, LOUD . . . and lonely. It’s hard for him to make friends—especially with the tiny, delicate birdies he loves so much. Each flash of their feathers, each chirp and cheerful song helps him feel less alone. But whenever a birdie swoops by, and Elwood hollers at it to STAY, the scared creature flies away. He tries everything: sitting on a branch, having a housewarming party, even building an amusement park with snacks and pools. But nothing helps—until Elwood finally learns how to make his bird dreams come true.
Kellee’s Review and Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Elwood Bigfoot is such an sweet character. Throughout I just wanted to jump into the book and give him a hug. He doesn’t deserve to be alone, but he has to figure out how to make friends in the situation he is in. Elwood’s story would be a great way to introduce character traits as well as how a plot propelled a change in a character. Although Elwood does stay true to himself in the end, he does change throughout. Additionally, the book does have different birds throughout, and it would be fun to learn more about the different types.
Ricki’s Review and Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: When my son and I read this book, we were both smiling at the wonderful illustrations. I think every person can find a piece of themselves in this character. We all approach situations where we are nervous, lonely, or uncomfortable. This would be a great book to ask students to make personal connections to the story. Then, teachers could host discussions about empathy and use the text as a way to teach metaphor. Elwood Bigfoot is a charming character that will stick with me. I can see him being very popular in classrooms!
Discussion Questions: What character traits did Elwood have at the beginning of the book? What did he have to change to help him get birdie friends?; What clues did the birds give Elwood to show him what scared them about him?; What are the different birdies that you saw throughout the book?
We Flagged: “Elwood loved birdies. Each flash of feather, each chirp and cheerful song helped him feel less alone. Whenever a birdie swooped by, Elwood hollered, “COME BACK, BIRDIE! BE MY FRIEND!” But no birdie every came back.”
Read This If You Loved: You Will Be My Friend by Peter Brown, Look Up! by Annette LeBlanc Cate; Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae
**Thank you to Joshua at Sterling Children’s Books for providing copies for review!**