“How to Merit in Monsters Strange Scout Tales! Book One”


This book was a generous gift to Jefferson Carnegie Library from The Tocker Foundation. When looking for a children’s book, I was drawn by the front and back covers, showing Bigfoot and the Scouts. Ben Billingsley’s mom and dad send him off to the Nature Scouts’ sleepaway camp. Ben is not excited about going to camp. As he says “the outdoors was just the place you had to go through to get back to the inside. No need to hang around in it!”

Ben and his bunkmates in Cabin D, renamed Cabin Dweeb by a bully in Cabin C, head out to the woods to find their missing Scout Leaders, and experience adventures along the way.

This book is a great read for young boys and girls (ages 6-10) or would be a wonderful book for a mom or dad to read to their kids.

It takes the young people through escapades with Bigfoot and other forest monsters, all with a happy ending. I enjoyed the book because it shows kids how they can get away from their world of technology and all of their toys and video games.

With the help of a wise old senior troop leader, Walter Simmons, and an old handbook that Ben found under the floor boards in his cabin, Troop D is able to save Bigfoot when his lake water is contaminated. The handbook, published in 1908, “The Strange Scout’s Handbook of Cryptozoology and Manners”, was fascinating and had the secrets on how to save the forest monsters.

I also enjoyed reading the fun story about Bigfoot as Jefferson has a history of Bigfoot – from the Texas Bigfoot Conference held annually each October to the filming of “Boggy Creek” in Jefferson and Uncertain. The movie was loosely based on the old Big Foot or Sasquatch legends, says Brian T. Jaynes, director and producer.

The Texas Bigfoot Research Conservancy website says “Jerry Hestand, Mark Porter and Charles DeVore investigated a number of cases in Marion County from reliable trustworthy people in or near these remote bottomlands. It is their assessment that it seems highly likely that events have been reported accurately”. So is Bigfoot real or a product of imagination?

The author, Matthew Cody, is an acclaimed children’s author and has already written Book 2 in the Scout Tales. The book is beautifully illustrated by Steve Lambe, an Emmy Award-winning animator.


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