KING OF THE CLOUD FORESTS by Michael Morpurgo

KING OF THE CLOUD FORESTS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Accompanied by Uncle Sung, an old Tibetan doctor, Ashley (14) leaves his missionary father and escapes the Japanese invasion of China by traveling through Tibet and Nepal to India. While Sung scouts for food, Ashley is left alone in a hut high in the mountains. Ill, hungry, and snowed in, he is in despair for his life when he is rescued by yetis--giant, hairy, big-footed humanoids who prove to have a simple but idyllic culture. Mistaking Ashley for an earlier visitor whose photograph they still treasure, the yetis treat him as their king; but in time he realizes that even his limited knowledge may contaminate their purity, so he escapes and continues his journey to Britain. Ashley's brisk narrative, though it is brief and easily read, has the charm of ruminative, old-fashioned adventure novels told in the first person. The yetis' appeal has more to do with their Shangri-La-like life than with being ""Abominable Snowmen,"" but they hold fascination both ways. Morpurgo makes a thoughtful, anti-imperalist statement in Ashley's fear of becoming the yetis' ""false god,"" later reinforced by Uncle Sung's comment to Ashley's condescending aunts: ""There is often much truth in simplicity."" The discovery of the yetis' earlier visitor, now an aged doctor, rests on too improbable a coincidence, but it does neatly round the story. An unusual, well-told yarn.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1988
Page count: 146pp
Publisher: Viking