Two children shepherd a family of yetis from the Himalayas to England in this Candide-like odyssey, left unfinished at Ibbotson’s death in 2010 but buffed up by her son and editor.
Impelled by the threat of imminent exposure and the hope of refuge in a certain British stately home, five yetis reluctantly leave their idyllic hidden valley. Guided by Con and Ellen, two young staff members from a recently opened tourist hotel, they board a sympathetic driver’s refrigerated lorry for the long drive across the Middle East and Europe. Being thoroughly vegetarian and so gentle that they apologize to grass and fruit before they eat it, they’re in for a series of nasty shocks. Not least among these is the discovery that their safe haven has been taken over by a hunters’ club and thickly decorated with animal trophies. When the yetis are drugged by the hunters and shipped off to Antarctica for a private slaughter, it’s left up to Con and Ellen to effect a rescue. Sprinkling her descriptions with words like “vile” and “filthy,” Ibbotson really lets animal abusers and killers have it here—in sharp contrast to the yetis, who are outfitted with a winning mix of naïveté, noble-heartedness and amusing foibles such as backward-facing feet (which make them very hard to track). Robinson gives them the look of hairy, oversized Palmer Cox Brownies in the frequent illustrations.
A satiric farewell from a favorite author. (most illustrations not seen) (Fantasy. 10-13)