A fearsome yeti is befriended by a gentle lama in this picture book.
In Tibet, a lama spends his days in meditation “wishing peace and happiness for the world and all its creatures.” One day, going into the village for the midsummer festival, he finds it empty. He learns that a yeti has terrorized the village and the villagers are afraid to come outdoors. The lama persuades them to celebrate anyway. Afterward, back at his cave, the lama is praying for “peace and happiness” when the yeti shows up, ready to pounce. But this brief moment of narratively welcome tension is immediately diffused when the yeti, instead, lies down at the lama’s feet, pacified by the “warm glow of the lama’s heart.” This turn of events may well disorient young readers. Hopefully they will identify with the lama’s subsequent kindness and compassion to the yeti and the yeti’s conversion into a happy, helpful companion, but this well-worn (although vital) theme fails to captivate in this treatment. Mineker’s illustrations are colorful, showing many Tibetan faces and a brown yeti, but beyond this are unremarkable in their design and perspectives. While author Das is a well-regarded, well-known Western monk in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, the book’s cutesy language, somewhat patronizing jocularity, and lack of narrative tension make it a bland read.
Kindness and compassion delivered in a pat manner. (author’s note) (Picture book. 3-8)