The International Yeti Collective #2: Shadowspring – Paul Mason

Illustrations – Katy Riddell

You must do what your heart tells you is right …

The Greybeards are finalising preparations for the first Gathering of the nineteen yeti setts that make up the International Yeti Collective in a very long time. Tadpole (she of unripe character) is the daughter of the sett’s leader, Shipshape (she in perfect order). Although Tadpole is next in line to become the leader of the Greybeards she doesn’t feel very much like a leader.

Much like the first book in the series, Shadowspring has a message of conservation. The yeti are all protectors but each sett has its own area of responsibility. The Mountain Yeti from the first book do fungus maintenance and the Greybeards of Shadowspring clean the water they, the forest and humans use.

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My favourite yeti character was Snowdrift (he with white fur), Tadpole’s grandfather, who was wise, loving and kind. Snowdrift had been friends with a human. Because of how dangerous humans are, yeti who interact with them face banishment if they are caught.

Like her grandfather, Tadpole also meets a human, Henry, who is settling into his new boarding school. Tadpole and Henry will need to work together when they find out the Greybeards are in danger.

I was also a pretty big fan of Lepus, the hare. Given how much I love etymology, I was impressed when Google told me that Lepus is Latin for ‘hare’.

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Fun fact: Lepus is also a constellation. That makes the astronomy nerd part of me very happy.

Given how many setts we haven’t spent time with yet I’m expecting at least one more book in this series. You could read the second book without having already read the first and not be lost, although I’d recommend reading them in order. There are references to the events of the first book in this one.

I liked both Tadpole and Henry. However I wasn’t as invested in their friendship as I was in Tick and Ella’s from the first book. This is the only reason I’m rating this book slightly lower than the first one.

“We share this Earth,” said Shipshape. “We should learn to live alongside each other. Not build barriers.”

While kids in particular will enjoy reading all of the fun yeti names, I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending this series to kids and adults alike.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Stripes Publishing, an imprint of Little Tiger Group, for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Henry is the new boy at Halbrook Hall – a crumbling boarding school in the Scottish Highlands. He thinks the rumours of yeti lurking in the misty hills are nothing more than stories. Until one day he gets lost in the forest …

As a young yeti, Tadpole loves living in Shadowspring. But now the precious spring water is disappearing and no one knows why. The situation is serious – surely there’s something she can do to help …

When Tadpole accidentally reveals the top-secret location of Shadowspring to Henry, the lost boy she saves, she knows she’s in deep trouble. But what if this human actually has the power to help the yeti not harm them? 

The International Yeti Collective – Paul Mason

Illustrations – Katy Riddell

Spoilers Ahead!

Ella is excited to be spending time in the Himalayas with Jack, her famous uncle, during the school holidays. Accompanied by a small film crew, they’re determined to track down the elusive yeti and then share their incredible find with the world.

Tick is a yeti who knows, like all yeti do, to stay far away from humans. Curiosity gets the better of him though and he can’t resist a quick peek at these strange creatures. This decision could have dire consequences, not just for Tick but for every yeti.

“We all make mistakes in life, Tick. It’s how you respond to them that counts”

Although this story is told from both Ella and Tick’s perspectives, and Ella does play a vital role, I will remember this book as Tick’s story. I adored this yeti, from his sweet nature to his “idea flies”, which manage to both cause trouble and help him. Tick’s story proves that we can live beyond our labels.

“If we are not true to ourselves, young yeti, then we are nothing.”

Humans and yeti aren’t the only creatures you’ll find in this book. I was quite partial to a yak called Shaan. I learned of the existence of a bird with the best rainbow of feathers I’ve ever Googled: the Himalayan monal. Then there was Flittermouse, the most adorable bat I’ve ever wanted to befriend.

I loved learning about yeti history and culture. The lighting system in their setts was ingenious – they clap to wake the glow worms! I smiled each time it happened. I especially enjoyed learning the fun, descriptive yeti names, which included “Nosh (she who makes nibbles)” and “Crisp (he baked in the sun)”. I never tired of their varied greetings; my favourites were “Even a tiny star shines in the dark” and “One shall not reach the top of a mountain by sitting on the bottom”.

By thinking outside the box and being open to new ideas, characters in this book learn that just because something has always been done a certain way that doesn’t automatically mean it’s the only (or best) way to do it. When you are brave enough to try something new the results can be amazing, even if it can be scary in the beginning.

There’s an overarching theme of conservation which plays out throughout this story. While the message was clear, I never felt like I was being hit over the head with it. I appreciated Ella having the strength to speak her truth to adults and loved that her voice made a difference. It’s empowering for kids (and anyone, really) to read about characters who stand up for what they believe in.

My main niggle was Jack’s turnaround near the end of the book. While it was inevitable and I’m very glad it happened, he changed his tune too quickly for me to find it believable. Having said that though, I’m not this book’s target audience and doubt I would have quibbled about it had I encountered this book as a child.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Stripes Publishing, an imprint of Little Tiger Group, for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

An epic adventure with big feet and an even bigger heart!

Ella is in the Himalayas with her uncle searching for yeti. But what seems like the adventure of a lifetime is cut short when she realises that these secretive creatures might not want to be found.

Tick knows it’s against yeti law to approach humans. So when some arrive on the mountain, why does he find himself peering through the trees to get a closer look?

What Tick doesn’t know is that his actions will set off a series of events that threaten the existence of yeti all over the world. What can he do to make things right? Just when all hope seems lost, help comes in the most unexpected form …