The Abominables

Common Sense Media says

Sweet story of yetis' quest for home best for young readers.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

Even though The Abominables is about mythical creatures, it prods readers to think about the way we treat all creatures and gives examples of taking civic action to protect them.

Positive messages

Be kind. Treat others as you would be treated, and, if someone is in trouble, help them. Have faith in your friends.

Positive role models

From Lady Agatha, who's the first person to recognize the yetis as intelligent beings, to the children who help the yetis migrate to England to the yetis themselves, The Abominables is chock-full of characters who know that helping others and treating everyone with kindness is the road to happiness.

Violence & scariness

In one city, animals in the zoo are grossly mistreated, and the cruel ruling sultan threatens to imprison or shoot anyone who protests their treatment. Some hunters have a song that includes the words, "Spilled blood is glorious / killing is grand." Though much of the violence is slapstick and doesn't really seem threatening, one of the yetis does get shot by a hunter and must be rushed to a hospital.

Language
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Abominables is award-winning author Eva Ibbotson's last book before her death (completed by her son and her editor). Although it opens with a little girl being stolen by a "foul beast," this is actually a sweet, comforting story with some perilous situations that are easily overcome. At one point there's some violence toward the innocent yetis and one is shot, but it will be clear to all but the youngest readers that everything will turn out OK. The villains are plainly bad guys and are soundly punished for their misdeeds.

Parents say

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

When a little girl is lost in the mountains near Tibet, she befriends a family of yetis, who, despite the legends about them being nasty brutes, are kind, polite, vegetarian creatures. Years later, when the little girl has become an old woman, she entrusts a young brother and sister with the mission of taking the yetis back to her stately home in England so the yetis will be safe and cared for after her death. The kids eagerly agree, and thus begins their journey. In episodic chapters, the yetis, despite their intention to remain inconspicuous, engage in heroic acts in each place they travel through, including freeing mistreated animals from a zoo and rescuing a boy lost in the Alps. When they arrive at their final destination, however, the yetis are captured by evil big-game hunters, and it's up to the kids to take action to rescue their friends.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

True to author Eva Ibbotson's usual form, in THE ABOMINABLES, the good guys are very good, the bad guys are very bad, and the moral questions have clear answers. When the kids and the yetis find an intolerable situation or difficulty, they solve the problem with quick dispatch, barely even giving readers a chance to worry. The only exception to this is the exciting climax, when the yetis are in danger and it's uncertain whether the kids can advocate for their friends in time to save them.

The theme of protecting the environment and its creatures runs through many of Ibbotson's books, and, as in The Island of the Aunts, the sincerity and goodwill of the characters prevent the message from being too didactic. However, The Abominables lacks the complexity of her more masterful novels such as The Secret of Platform 13 or Journey to the River Sea. More sophisticated readers will find it predictable and possibly even saccharine, but it's perfect for kids who want something funny and comforting with a happy ending.

Families can talk about...

  • Parents can talk about how the kids in The Abominables go to the media to publicize the yetis' dilemma. Can you think of other situations when the media can help people in trouble?

  • Why are quest stories so popular? Can you think of some others? 

  • Do you think yetis could be real? What stories about the Abominable Snowman have you heard about, read, or seen on TV?

Book details

Author:Eva Ibbotson
Illustrator:Fiona Robinson
Genre:Adventure
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Amulet Books
Publication date:October 8, 2013
Number of pages:272
Publisher's recommended age(s):8 - 12
Available on:Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, Kindle, Nook, Paperback

This review of The Abominables was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Parent of a 7 year old Written bycagey11 August 2, 2014
AGE
7
QUALITY
 

Sweet tale with some intense moments

My son was not quite 7 years old when we chose this as a read-together book. He loved this book and was eager to read a chapter each night before bedtime. There were some intense moments that I chose to edit a little as I went along - e.g., cruelty to animals in a zoo and during a bullfight, some alcohol references, and a boy (good guy) threatens to kill a man (bad guy) if he doesn't tell him information he needs. There are also intense moments I chose to read as-is that were a little sad for my son (the yetis do face some danger, one becomes depressed, and there are sad goodbyes), but we worked through them. As the CSM review does state, the good guys are clearly good, and the bad guys are clearly bad, and there is a happy ending. Overall, I thought it was a well-written and exciting book to read with my little boy. I recommend it to young ones with a few reservations.

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Essential Apps Guide