Digital version – browse, print or download
Receive the latest news & reviews direct to your inbox!
This issue’s cover illustration by Steve Stone is from Darke by Angie Sage. Thanks to Bloomsbury for their help with this July cover.
By clicking here you can view, print or download the fully artworked Digital Edition of BfK 195 July 2012 .
While asleep in her tent high in the Tibetan mountains, Agatha, daughter of the Earl of Farley, is kidnapped by a yeti. On awakening, she finds herself in a secret valley, a paradise of happiness and colour, her huge and hairy kidnaper hovering over her. He explains himself, introduces her to his motherless children and pleads with her to be their governess. Agatha is so taken by the yetis’ gentleness and wide open smiles that she readily agrees to teach them the art of speaking, storytelling and, especially, Good Manners. Together, they live a carefree life until the day that that one of the children leaves a trail of footprints in the snow, so betraying their existence to all sorts of folk — journalists and tourists, but also hunters and evil-doers — interested in abominable snowmen. But there is one small boy, Con, who, worried for their safety, sets out to warn the creatures. He is persuaded by Agatha to lead the yetis to safety – to her ancestral home in faraway England. With Con in charge, his sister and a sympathetic driver, the yetis escape in a lorry and journey across countries and seas, encountering adventures and pitfalls along the way. In all their experiences —humorous, heroic or dangerous —the yetis’ inherent goodness and respect for life shine through.
The novel, published posthumously, overflows with a humour that infuses the writing style as much as the plot development and characterisation. As with all her books, Ibbotson effortlessly touches upon large themes of friendship and courage, the essential goodness of animals versus human cruelty. Characters are sharply drawn, the ‘baddies’ thwarted or transformed and the main protagonists, largely made up of yetis and children, achieving their goal through kindness, empathy, solidarity – and even organised protest. Yet for all that there is to think about and admire in this book, its clarity of ideas and deeply embedded humour, its belief in justice and morality, it is also a hugely rewarding page-turning adventure. Sharon Rentta’s softly expressive illustrations are once again the perfect complement to this heart-warming story.