A softhearted, cyan-colored creature, Yeti really stands out in a crowd—the crowd of monsters, that is, who populate the world of prolific author Kelly DiPucchio’s Not Yeti, illustrated by Claire Keane. While the other monsters are domineering, loud and rude, Yeti is quiet and considerate. He has kind words for the weeds, sings to the humpback whales, crochets sweaters for penguins and tells knock-knock jokes to the trees. He also tries his best to befriend the other monsters, who think he’s an oddity.
Midway through the narrative, DiPucchio pauses for a flashback to a time when Yeti’s behavior was “abominable,” which Keane depicts in a series of panels that give the impression of worn photographs. This earlier version of Yeti may have been ill-mannered, but he woke up one day and made a conscious choice that “he liked making things . . . more than he liked breaking things”—even if meant spending a lot of his time alone. Observant readers will notice that a small, two-eyed monster in a dress appears in many spreads and seems to be watching Yeti’s acts of kindness. She makes her devotion to Yeti clear at the book’s festive closing.
In Keane’s illustrations, Yeti is affable and rosy cheeked. His facial expressions and body language differ markedly from the other monsters, who are rowdy and mischievous. (One even breathes fire.) Keane’s rounded, relaxed linework ensures that none of the monsters are ever truly frightening, and her palette is dominated by appealing soft lavender, rose and turquoise hues.
Not Yeti is a sweet tale for anyone who’s ever realized the bright side of not fitting in. The world may be full of monsters, but Yeti isn’t one of them, and readers will be happy to get to know him.