Perhaps it shouldn’t come as a great surprise that yetis are big, hairy, emotional, flea-bitten, slug-eating, gas-blowing gross-outs.
They come at readers in couplets, these unsavory traits of the yeti that hides under the bed. Let it be known that not all yeti behaviors are disreputable: they enjoy baths if they can make a mess; if reminded, they brush their teeth; and they can shape-shift into chairs and rugs so mom doesn’t send them packing. But Freedman’s story is about celebrating the yeti’s grand bloopers. Don’t, for instance, bring him to school, even if he is equipped with a tiny backpack and tears in his eyes: “Of course when you tell him, ‘Off to school! Can’t be late!’ / he’ll beg to go with as your brand-new classmate.” (That couplet’s as curious as the yeti.) So the young white protagonist brings him to school, where, when he’s not gorming slugs on the playground, “he’ll make loud embarrassing noises—Phoo-eee!” Yes, that variety of windblast, for we have already covered eructation—“yetis say THANK YOU in BURPS!”—during the slobbering of breakfast. Ranucci endeavors to govern the proceedings with sweet-toned illustrations and party-cake colors, but when the topic is the yeti’s vast population of fleas, it’s best not to go too deep into the issue.
Thomas Hobbes would approve of this yeti’s natural state, but perhaps he should go by his other name: abominable. (Picture book. 4-8)