||A Review of: Peg and the Yeti
by Olga Stein
Peg is the child of fisher-folk, and by eight years of age, an
expert at fishing herself. A girl with ambition, who wants, "big,
better, and best," she decides it's time to reach for new
heights, and sets out to climb Mount Everest. Peg can do anything
she puts her mind to, and before long, she is half-way up the
mountain, undaunted by the precipices, chasms, and powerful winds.
She finds a cave to spend the night. In the cave sleeps a giant,
fierce Yeti who becomes furious when wakened by the plucky little
girl. Pork scruncheons from Peg's food supply bag soon soften the
bad-tempered Yeti, and he attaches himself to Peg as she continues
her climb to the top of the mountain.
Oppel's text is nicely written but the plot meanders, and while the
heroine is ambitious, fearless and resourceful, she lacks depth.
The book is obviously meant to show girls they shouldn't hesitate
to pusue their goals. That's great, but a character becomes
one-dimensional when there's no limit at all to the things she can
Barbara Reid has won many awards for her plasticine illustrations.
This book was shortlisted for the Governor General's Award for
Children's book illustration, and it's plain to see why. Reid's
fanciful creations are a treat to behold. The diverse settings,
objects, and characters in Reid's relief renderings are vivid with
colour, texture, and often subtle facial expression. Reid's
attentiveness to detail enables the reader to see the harsh,
snow-whipping wind and the glow from the sun. So convincing is the
art, it's hard to believe sometimes that every tiny part of her
canvases was moulded. And always enlivening and adding charm to
Reid's work is her bountiful sense of humour.