Link to publisher
Published by: Simon and Schuster
Stop press! The Yaks have arrived! This is yet another picture book which has been much anticipated in our house and the day my request to view it via @NetGalley was granted, our pre-ordered copy arrived. And, what a treat! For Gertie is every bit as adorable as we have been led to believe.
This tale is perfect as we head into seasonal change and the colder, darker half of the year. The Yaks in their warm woolly get-up makes for a superbly eye-catching front cover, with Gertie stealing the show in the centre. However, she isn't too happy about being the smallest of the herd...
Although Gertie is great at being small, she dreams of being all-grown up and as big as the others. But despite doing everything in her power to grow, it just isn't happening fast enough and Gertie is down in the dumps. Everything changes, though, when she is asked to do something that no other Yak can do - something VERY important. Can Gertie manage to do a BIG thing, despite her smallness.
Over the years we have read other stories about animals who wish they were bigger, braver, smarter or faster but NEVER about a yak. And who would have thought that yaks would make such brilliant picture book characters. Credit for this must be shared between debut author, Lu Fraser, for choosing such an unusual, stand-out creature and for making Gertie's story completely adorable, and Kate Hindley for bringing them to life in such a bold and unique way. The colour palette alone is as enticing as it is dreamy and, well, Gertie speaks for herself.
The plot is pacy and dramatic, with mountains of tension mixed with light-hearted fun. The scenery may be icy cold but it's sets the scene for a tale bursting with hearty warmth. The rhyming language is a delight and full of onomatopeia; pattering, clattering, plopping, springing. We particularly loved the opening line, "On the tip of the top of a mountain..."
The message, clear all the way through, is a classic but crucial one for little readers, most of who will have wished away their childhood at one time or another. You don't have to be big to do BIG things and while you're at it, don't wish the time away. Gertie's bravery and determination comes from within and that's what makes her special.
This is definitely a book to share together with a blanket, fire and a huge jug of hot chocolate and marshmallows. It evokes that wonderful cosy, satisfying feeling which is exactly what you need from a bedtime story.
The Littlest Yak published tomorrow, Thursday 3rd September and is available to pre-order.
A massive thank you to Simon and Schuster and Netgalley for allowing me the opportunity to read and review.