Saturday, September 28, 2013

Furry and Fun with Real Heart - The Abominables by Iva Ibbotson

Premise: When a family of yetis, raised by an English girl, is nearly discovered by tourists in the Himalayas, they must move to safety all the way in England. But the journey through Europe isn't the only adventure in store for these yetis, who find that a hunting club is very interested in their arrival.

Title: The Abominables
Author: Eva Ibbotson
Length: 272 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Content Appropriate For: Grades 3-6
Format: Digital ARC from the publisher via

Three adjectives that describe this book: amusing, intriguing, whimsical

Eva Ibbotson passed away in 2010, but this novel is being published posthumously by her estate. The Abominables is the first book of hers that I've ever read. And I didn't just read this novel, I became totally attached to the characters.

Ultimately, that's what this book is all about - a whole slew of deliciously quirky characters. Some of my favorites:
* Hubert - A yak obsessed with finding his mother
* Uncle Otto - A yeti who only really cares about reading, but has read nothing but the Bible for 100 years
* Clarence - A young yeti who hit his head while out exploring and hasn't been quite right since then
* Lucy - The sister yeti who loves to eat, but also sleep walks
and the star of the show-
* Ambrose the Abominable - The youngest yeti. Ambrose is the sensitive type who loves humans and is very curious.

Yes, this novel is all about fabulous characters. But here's the sneaky thing... The Abominables has a great plot, too. The plot kind of sneaks up on you without the reader even realizing it. As these quirky characters traipse across Eurasia, things start to happen... and then more things happen... and before you know it, you've reached a major conflict in the tale. So you cheer for the characters, and worry about them, as the climax approaches, and...

Yeah, well... it's like that. Eventually you end up standing in front of Buckingham Palace chanting with a crowd of demonstrators!

The only reason that I'm not giving The Abominables a full 5-star rating is because I thought the plot got to be a little transparent with it's animal rights messaging. I'm all for animal rights, but does the anti-hunting message have to be quite so obviously presented? It made an otherwise entertaining story into a bit of a morality tale.

Still, this book is highly recommended!
4 stars

Listen to the beginning of The Abominables, when young Agatha gets kidnapped by a yeti.

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