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Item - The Bigfoot Mystery

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Series: Choose Your Own Adventure for Younger Readers — no. 11
Contained In: Choose Your Own Adventure Skylark 3 Box Set (Collection)
Translated Into: El monstruo Piesgrandes (Spanish)
Author: Sonberg, Lynn
Illustrator: Granger, Paul (pseudonym used by Hedin, Don)
Date: September, 1983
ISBN: 055315222X / 9780553152227
Length: 53 pages
Number of Endings: 9
User Summary: While you're camping in the woods your campsite is attacked by something that leaves behind huge footprints.
Demian's Thoughts:

This is another unexceptional but decent gamebook.

More reviews by Demian

KenJenningsJeopardy74's Thoughts:

Did Choose Your Own Adventure need an entry devoted to Bigfoot? Of course! It's hard to imagine there not being one among the franchise's various iterations, and Lynn Sonberg gives it to us. You are on a camping trip far out in the squatchy woods with your fifteen-year-old cousin Sam. Having never gone camping, you're unnerved by nature's spooky sounds surrounding your tent that first night, and when you rise the next morning your campsite is in ruins and food is missing. The only clue to the perpetrator's identity is a set of gigantic footprints. They look more human than animal, but no person's feet could leave such large impressions. Is it the legendary Bigfoot beast? Sam is skeptical about that, but the two of you have a choice: follow the footprints, or report the incident at a ranger station. Which will it be?

The oversized tracks eventually lead down a steep stone trail that could be dangerous. If you continue following, you run right into Bigfoot, who grabs Sam and sprints away with superhuman strength and agility. Do you have the wits to save your cousin? Pursue Bigfoot to his cave, and you'll be just in time to intervene on Sam's behalf. Would you rather pitch a rock at the monster, or a live snake? Do you use your flashlight as a weapon, or your last jar of peanut butter as bait to distract the creature? Sam regards you with new respect if you rescue him; you're braver than he (or you) realized. Most of the story options lead to a confrontation with the brawny, speechless Bigfoot, but one path turns the whole thing into a prank cooked up by Sam. Is it better to be imperiled by a real monster, or fooled by your cousin? That's for you to decide.

If you head toward the ranger station rather than follow the footprints, Sam shares a theory with you as to who raided the campsite: Bigfoot Charlie, a notorious counterfeiter who escaped prison last week. As a fugitive, Charlie would have reason to steal your food. En route to the ranger station you must cross a rickety wooden bridge, and the wrong choices here lead to a bad fall and long hospital stay that will prevent you from camping for a while. If your luck holds regarding the bridge, you might fall from it to safety among giant ferns, but a rope snare closes on your ankle and lifts you upside down into a hemlock tree. As you pull yourself into sitting position on a branch, the sight on the ground is a frightening one: that nasty-looking, axe-wielding man is Bigfoot Charlie, who orders you to come down so he can "teach you to mess with my trap!" If you hide in the tree, he may start hacking at the trunk with his axe. You might accidentally find Charlie's counterfeit printing press in the tree, or he could climb after you and drive you straight toward a mountain lion stranded on another branch. Sam has gone for help, so a ranger might return and spare you Charlie's wrath; or, the real Bigfoot may show up and deal with the outlaw. However events transpire, your camping trip is not one you or Sam will forget.

This book has some good storylines, especially Bigfoot abducting Sam. The great outdoors can be overwhelming if you're not accustomed to it, but if you prove capable of handling the unexpected on this trip, you'll be prepared for any camping adventure for the rest of your life. What could be more harrowing than fighting Bigfoot? All said, the book doesn't live up to its potential because it tries to be too much: a monster mystery, crime escapade, and realistic comedy. That fractures the narrative to a degree that forbids internal consistency, and is why I consider The Bigfoot Mystery to be below average. Lynn Sonberg is a good storyteller, though, and Paul Granger contributes excellent, atmospheric illustrations. My favorites are the depiction of your campsite opposite page one, the intricately detailed stone trail on page two, a closeup of Bigfoot Charlie on page four (classic Granger style), the wobbly bridge on page eight, and your hike home with Sam through an idyllic outdoor setting on pages forty-eight and forty-nine. The Bigfoot Mystery could have been a lot better than it was, but I'll enjoy numerous rereads of it anyway.

More reviews by KenJenningsJeopardy74

Users Who Own This Item: Ardennes (red), bobthefunny, bookwormjeff, exaquint (1st), Gartax, gildedlionbooks (US, 1st Printing), horrorbusiness, jdreller, jharvey79, katzcollection, KenJenningsJeopardy74, kinderstef (red), kleme (yellow), knginatl (yellow, red, yellow "school edition", yellow "book fair"), marcfonline, NEMO (yellow book fair), newt3425, Nomad, ntar, Oberonbombadil (US 1st), RetroReef (yellow), Ryuran333, strawberry_brite, twar, Uraniborg (yellow), waktool (Original, 1st printing (yellow, $1.95))
Users Who Want This Item: exaquint (yellow, yellow school edition, yellow book fair, red), Ffghtermedic, NEMO (red), Pseudo_Intellectual, Uraniborg (red)
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