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A Reading Group Guide toLittle Bigfoot, Big City
By Jennifer WeinerAbout the Book
In this sequel to The Littlest Bigfoot
, three misfits find themselves at the center of mystery and intrigue. Alice Mayfair has discovered she’s not human. But who—or what—is she? While Alice goes in search of her past, her best friend, Millie Maximus, a tiny Bigfoot with a big voice, prepares for her future. Together they sneak off to New York City,
where Millie hopes to audition for The Next Stage
, the TV show she’s sure will rocket her to stardom. They are followed by Jeremy Bigelow, the boy whose Bigfoot research led him to Alice and Millie; he’s been approached by a shadowy government organization who wants his help in capturing a Bigfoot. What the three discover on their journey will change how they see themselves, each other, and the rest of the world.Discussion Questions
1. Did you read the first book in this series, The Littlest Bigfoot
? If so, were you happy to find out more about these characters? If not, do you now want to go back and read the first book? Do you enjoy reading books in a series? Why? Does having multiple books about the same characters make you more invested in what happens to them?
2. It seems clear from the ending of the book that a third book is forthcoming. Talk about the story elements in the last few chapters that give clues to the action in the next book. Do you feel cheated that the author hasn’t crafted a complete end to the story? Or do you think that providing this kind of ending creates a good type of suspense and anticipation for the rest of the story?
3. Who is your favorite character in the book, and why? Who is your least favorite? Who is the most boring? The most exciting? The friendliest? The scariest? The most like you? Which character can you most identify with, and why?
4. One of the central storylines is the interruption of Alice and Millie’s friendship. Talk about why this distance happens. Do you feel more sympathetic to one girl than the other? Are you able to understand both sides? Have you had a big disagreement with a friend? What was it about? Have you read any other books where friendship problems are part of the plot? Which ones? How do they compare with the problems Alice and Millie have?
5. One of the things that pulls Millie away from Alice is her new alliance with Jessica and their obsession with finding friends on social media. Talk about the differences between social media friends and real friends. Have you ever been so involved in social media that you neglected your friends? If not, do you understand how this could happen? Do social media friends have any advantages over real friends, or vice versa?
6. Discuss how Alice’s yearning for her real, Bigfoot parents mirrors some of the ways that adopted kids feel: her real parents would understand her and would explain all the ways she is different from other girls. Is this kind of thinking common only to adopted children, or do all kids feel like they’re different at some point? Can you relate to the idea that a big discovery might lead to a big understanding of yourself?
7. Describe Alice’s thought process when she compares herself to her mother. Can you see why she would wonder if Felicia is her real mother? After finishing the book, do you see any ways that they are alike? What about you and your family? Are you alike, or different? How are your personality traits and your skills different from your family’s?
8. Each of the three main characters—Alice, Millie, and Jeremy—are misfits. Talk about the reasons why each of them feel that they don’t belong. Can you relate to any or all of them? Do you think that friendships can give you a sense of belonging? How can friendships make you notice differences that also set you apart?
9. Of the adult characters in the book, who are the “good” influences and who are the “bad” influences? Is it always clear which is which? How can you tell the difference? What clues does the author give to help you decide?
10. When Jeremy meets Skip Carruthers, he’s confused: “He wasn’t sure if he trusted Skip Carruthers not to use him, the way grown-ups always seemed to use kids, taking their ideas and their work, then taking the credit.” In your opinion, is this a fair assessment of the adults in this book? Of adults in general? When is it most dangerous to trust adults? When is it important to put your trust in an adult? How do you decide? Would a bribe, like the financial help Jeremy’s family receives, help you decide?
11. Do you think that this book portrays the government as the bad guys? Have you seen movies or read other books where this theme is evident? How about the opposite—does the government ever save the day? What role should the government have in our lives?
12. How would you feel if, like Alice, you discovered that the government knew a secret about you that you did not know? What if you had been tracked for your entire life? What do you predict will happen with Alice in the next book?
13. Why do you think Skip Carruthers chose Jeremy to help him? What personal characteristics might make Jeremy vulnerable to being recruited? Is it realistic to expect him to get coaxed into Skip’s van, eat Skip’s food, and take a shower? Why is Jeremy hesitant to drink the hot chocolate at first? How does Skip reassure him about his safety? What clues does the author give readers as to Skip’s motives, character, and trustworthiness?
14. Jeremy thinks this about Skip: “His good deeds didn’t erase the bad ones.” Do you agree? How much good would a person have to do to make up for any bad things he’s done? When Jeremy starts lying to Skip Carruthers to mislead him, should he be excused for his falsehoods? Why does Jeremy think it’s easier to pretend with Skip, giving him kernels of truth wrapped in lies?
15. All three protagonists are fixated on something. To enlist his help, Skip taps into Jeremy’s obsession with finding a Bigfoot. Millie is consumed with being selected for The Next Stag
e. Alice is desperate to find her real parents. In what ways do these obsessions help us to understand these characters? Do you have a special interest or hobby? Do you think you will stay interested in it?
16. In their own ways, both Alice and Jeremy are searching for “the truth.” Why? Alice felt that once she knew “the truth about herself, she would be free.” Do you think she will be? Why would knowing the truth set someone free? What happens if you don’t like the truth you discover? What does Alice discover is the danger in asking questions?
17. As Millie came closer to being accepted for The Next Stage
, she started to wonder: “What if winning the competition meant losing her friend, her Tribe, her family?” How do you think she might feel if she won? Would the fame and fortune be worth the losses? Do you agree with her when she decides, “‘If I don’t try, I’ll always wonder’”?Extension Activities
1. Write a character analysis of Jeremy. He tells himself “‘I’m one of the good guys.’” Do you agree? Decide whether he’s a hero or a villain, and give examples from the book to support your decision.
2. Chart the multiple mysteries throughout the book by describing each one and listing the various clues that point to the solutions. Imagine how the author might resolve them in the next book and what the possible outcomes may be.
3. Compare and contrast the characters of Marcus Johannsen and Skip Carruthers. How are they alike and different? Examine their actions, motives, and their interaction with the kids. Support your essay with examples from the text.
4. Research and write a report about the Bigfoot myth. Where do you think these myths originate from? Why would a myth about Bigfoots be useful for people?
5. Write a letter from Alice to Millie, and then from Millie to Alice, each defending their side of their quarrel. Make sure they explain their reasoning, but also show that they understand the other’s point of view.
6. Choose Millie, Alice, or Jeremy and conduct an imaginary interview with them for a school newspaper.Guide written by Bobbie Combs, a consultant at We Love Children's Books.This guide has been provided by Simon & Schuster for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.