A British import presents an allegory about self-knowledge, acceptance, and, maybe, coming out.
George’s grandad, mom, dad, and older sister are all yetis—all of them but George. George asks his grandad, dad, and older sister: “When will I be a yeti?” Each of them give him various responses: “When you can survive alone on a frozen mountain, waiting to lure stray hikers to their DOOM,” or “when you can chase people round the mountain until they SCREAM with TERROR.” Not wild about those options, George turns to Mom, who asks, “Do you want to be a yeti?” He thinks about it only to realize that he wants to be a unicorn. At the moment when George realizes his innermost desire, Neal depicts a rainbow bridge atop which gambol pastel unicorns holding balloons, riding a bicycle, and blowing bubbles. In a decision that feels odd for a book about nonconformity, Mom dons pink pearls and an apron, older sister wears pink bows, and Grandad and Dad are aggressive and loud, all reinforcing gender stereotypes. The title of the book goes for alliteration and humor but seems to lack forethought. If the yetis are a metaphor for normative culture, then what is the book saying about them? Treleaven delivers a well-meaning message inclusive of self-definition and acceptance—but readers should consider opting for Jessica Love’s Julián Is a Mermaid (2018) instead.
Not yet affirming. (Picture book. 4-8)