Shadowspring is the second book in the International Yeti Collective Series and I absolutely loved it. The yeti and human worlds collide in a wonderful fantasy adventure that is full of warmth, heart and important environmental messages.
In the Greybeard sett Shadowspring there is a problem, for some inexplicable reason the water is disappearing. The water level is running so low that the Greybeards are concerned that the other yeti tribe representatives will not be able to use the underground waterways to attend the Gathering.
Meanwhile, with his parents heading overseas on work business, Henry Wetwood finds himself at Halbrook Hall Boarding School. Legends and rumours talk of a Greybeard lurking in the misty mountains and forests that are next to the school but no-one has ever seen one.
On a hike up the mountain, Henry gets separated from the group and in the thick mist stumbles into danger where he meets a legendary Greybeard named Tadpole. From this moment on Paul Mason tells a fantastic adventure story that sees Henry and Tadpole coming together to save the yeti sett and stop the humans from stealing the water.
You know that Henry and Tadpole will meet at some point and when they do the friendship, connection and bond they share is wonderful. Greybeard Tadpole is lovely and so much fun and is nothing like the rumours, she is neither terrifying or ferocious.
There are many messages about the environment that are subtly woven into the tale. The Earth and creatures are in grave danger because the humans are irresponsible - polluting the skies, filling oceans with rubbish and destroying forests; humans living alongside nature and not destroying the environment; man and nature working together - as Shipshape alludes to, we need to learn to live alongside each other, not create barriers. There is also a message about trophy hunters and the risks they pose to animals.
The two stories are told alongside each other until the two narratives become intertwined as Henry must try and save Tadpole and the rest of the Greybeards from the hunters. The yeti naming system is brilliant and full of fun and humour and I love the illustrations by Katy Riddell which bring alive the characters.
A thoroughly enjoyable read!
Recommended for 7+.