Claustro-Critter: Don't Squish the Sasquatch by Kent Redeker
"HELLO, MR. BLOBULE! MAY I PLEASE RIDE YOUR BUS?
I HOPE IT DOESN'T GET TOO CROWDED.
I DO NOT LIKE TO GET SQUISHED."
It's obviously the first stop of the morning for Mr. Blobule's bus, and its first passenger, a green Bigfoot, nattily attired in black suit, bow tie, and Derby, carrying a black briefcase, obviously has his issues as he takes a solo seat in the very back of the bus.
But as the city bus tootles through the quirky urbanscape, things get critical for this claustrophobic critter. A cast of creatively-conceived critters board the bus, one at a time--Miss Elephant Shark, Mr. Octo-Rhino, Miss Loch-Ness-Monster-Space-Alien, all dutifully reminded by Mr. Blobule of the new house rule:
DON'T SQUISH THE SASQUATCH!
But Senor Sasquatch grows progressively more squeamish in his redoubt in the back of the bus as the other amply-proportioned creatures crowd him more and more.
At last our neurotic character has reached his limit. Thrusting his head and arms wildly through the window, he vents his anxiety: AAAAARGH!
Mr. Blobule's bus suddenly reaches its capacity, and in a dramatic four-page gatefold, it EXPLODES: KA-BLOOEY!
The bus is blown, its passengers thrown into the street, and Mr. Sasquatch starts having a monster meltdown on the sidewalk. What to do? Can Mr. Blobule come up with a serendipitous prescription to soothe the Sasquatch?
There's a super silly solution to this off-beat story, skillfully scripted by author Kent Redeker, in his delightful Don't Squish the Sasquatch! (Hyperion, 2012). Told entirely in the cumulative conversations between the driver and his hybrid critter passengers, with the oft-repeated "Don't squish the Sasquatch" as a refrain that will have kids chanting along with the dialog, this picture book is equally reliant on Bob Staake's illustrations, done in a stylized but abstract style that pretty much defies description but is nevertheless wonderfully suited to this wacky but sweet tale of tolerant friends.
As Publishers Weekly puts it, "...this is a book to be read aloud. Loudly."