Peg and the Yeti
Alison Mews is co-ordinator of the Centre for Instructional Services at
Memorial University of Newfoundland.
Oppel’s second tall tale about the intrepid Peg reaches new heights
when she sets her sights on Mount Everest.
Peg, who was “born upon the bright blue sea” and dresses in a
sou’wester and oilskins, sets out with her trusty fishing rod and
backpack. Encountering a furious Yeti on the mountain, she tames him
with salty pork scruncheons and enlists his help to reach the summit.
There she gazes at a view of the world and, satisfied, builds an ice
gondola in which she and the Yeti balloon home to her fishing boat.
After their return, Peg’s parents teach the Yeti to haul and gut fish.
Before long Peg’s spirit is growing restless and she’s seeking a new
adventure—setting us up for another sequel.
Peg joins the ranks of Paul Bunyan and Clever Beatrice, whose
exaggerated exploits are so outside the realm of possibility that
children will readily accept them as make-believe. Oppel’s Peg is a
resourceful heroine who forges ahead through adversity. Although nothing
is stated about her origins, Peg seems firmly rooted in Newfoundland
culture, from her fishing background to the salt cod and scruncheons and
the expression “some cold” to describe the temperature.
Reid’s trademark Plasticine illustrations portray an incredible range
of texture and form in the icy mountain whites. She takes a playful
approach to facial expression and perspective (such as the view from the
top of Everest), and shows several landmarks (the CN, Eiffel, and Pisa
Towers). Her conceptualization of Oppel’s strong story is both
intelligent and humorous. Their brilliant collaboration has produced a
timeless tale to be enjoyed over and over again. Highly recommended.