- The Abominables by Eva Ibbotson
In Ibbotson’s posthumously published title (from a previously unpublished manuscript completed by Ibbotson’s son and her editor), a family of gentle and intelligent Yetis must find a new place to live when their Tibetan mountain territory is encroached upon by commercialism and greedy entrepreneurs. Lady Agatha, the Yetis’ aging English caretaker, and young Con, son of the chef at the nearby fancy [End Page 217] hotel, manage to smuggle the Yetis out of Tibet with the help of Con’s sister, Ellen, and an animal-loving lorry driver named Perry. Unfortunately, the Yetis arrive at Lady Agatha’s former home to discover the manor house is being rented by a hunting club, the vicious members of which promptly drug the Yetis and ship them off to Antarctica so that the club can then hunt them. Con, Ellen, and Perry learn of this action too late to stop the Yetis’ removal, but they launch a protest outside the palace to try to get the Queen to put a stop to the hunt. Will they succeed? Will the Yetis be saved? This is Eva Ibbotson, so of course the answer is a satisfying “Yes,” with the likable heroes and even more endearing Yetis afforded a well-deserved happy ending. The writing is skillful, precise, and frequently funny, and it offers an effective counterbalance to some of the story’s more serious social criticism, as Ibbotson roundly denounces hunting and bullfighting (which the crew encounter as they take a detour through Spain). Robinson’s smooth, monochromatic illustrations, which appear frequently throughout, add warmth and playfulness to the text. This will be an easy sell to Ibbotson or creature fans, and many of the events concerning ethics and animal treatment would make good discussion starters.