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Review: The Yeti Files: Meet The Bigfeet

The Yeti Files: Meet The Bigfeet
By Kevin Sherry
Scholastic Press; $8.99

Not quite comics, but close enough that an argument could be put forth that this admixture of illustrations and prose by Kevin Sherry, in which the art far outweighs the verbiage (much of which appears in labels of the illustrations and dialogue placed near the talking characters but sans bubbles) is close enough to count as comics.

We’ll leave that argument to others, and instead simply review Sherry’s charming book about Blizz Richards, a rather affable yeti that Sherry renders as a sort of upright white ape with elephantine feet, somewhat devoid of detail thanks to Sherry’s very loose, cartoony style and the fact that Blizz, like many of the characters in this book, is covered in detail-obscuring fur.

Blizz, as he’s only too happy to explain, lives in a boss, Batcave-like secret headquarters in Nepal and is a cryptid. What’s a cryptid? Well, it’s an undiscovered animal. In the world of The Yeti Files, though, the cryptids all know one another, and stay in touch via social media, but they have all taken a very serious oath to never bee seen by the outside world, as “The secrecy keeps magic and mystery in the minds of humans.”

In this book, which certainly seems to be the first in a series, Blizz and his various assistants—a goblin named Gunthar, an elf that has seasonal work with Santa Claus named Alexander, an arctic fox named Frank—are on a mission to find Blizz’s missing cousin Brian.

Brian, a Bigfoot, apparently screwed up one day, and had his picture taken by the villain of the piece, a fame-hungry cryptozoologist  named George Vanquist (“Villain” may be a strong word for it, however; Vanquist is quite prickly to his dog/personal assistant Noodles, but is more hapless than evil, more of an Elmer Fudd antagonist than a Yosemite Sam type).

The embarrassment of being caught on film and accidentally betraying his cryptid oath sent Brian into hiding, and has kept him from socializing with his friends or  attending any Bigfoot family reunions of late. But Blizz and their shared family of hairy hominid-style cryptids seek him out and cajole them into an epic family reunion.

The stakes are pretty low, with most of the conflicts being of the gentle, personality clash type, and, unsurprisingly, it all works out well in the end.

Children are endlessly fascinated by monsters of all kinds, and there is perhaps something extra compelling about those like Bigfoots and Yeti and other cryptids, and this book therefore seems well-positioned to stoke that fascination. Yes, it’s silly and fun, but its gags all riff on that same subject matter.

Some children, I know from personal experience, never grow out of that fascination with monsters, particularly of the cryptid variety, and this book should please those former-children as well, with Sherry’s artwork, his fun comics and diagrams embedded within the more straight-forward, narrative portions of the chapters, and a few sly in-jokes about cryptozoology.

Sherry’s probably best-known for his inspired picture book about an arrogant giant squid, I’m The Biggest Thing In The Ocean. If The Yeti Files catches on like it has the potential to, then that book about a giant squid might end up being only one of the things he’s best-known for.

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J. Caleb Mozzocco About J. Caleb Mozzocco

J. Caleb Mozzocco is a way-too-busy freelance writer who has written about comics for online and print venues for a rather long time now. He currently contributes to Comic Book Resources' Robot 6 blog and ComicsAlliance, and maintains his own daily-ish blog at EveryDayIsLikeWednesday.blogspot.com. He lives in northeast Ohio, where he works as a circulation clerk at a public library by day.

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