Lug, Dawn of the Ice Age
. . . . .(How One Small Boy Saved Our Big, Dumb Species)
Written by David Zeltser
Illustrations by Jan Gerardi
Egmont USA 2014
190 pages Age 8 to 12
“In Lug’s Stone Age clan, a caveboy becomes a caveman by catching a jungle llama and riding it against the rival Boar Rider clan in the Big Game. The thing is, Lug has a forbidden, secret art cave and would rather paint than smash skulls. Because Lug is different, his clan’s Big Man is out to get him, he’s got a pair of bullies on his case—oh, and the Ice Age is coming. When Lug is banished from the clan for failing to catch jungle llama, he’s forced to team up with Stony, a silent Neanderthal with a very expressive unibrow, and Echo (a Boar Rider girl!). In a world experiencing some serious global cooling, these misfits must protect their feuding clans from the impending freeze and a particularly unpleasant pride of migrating saber-toothed tigers.” [book jacket]
About the Story
The clan has broken into two factions, the Macrauchenia Riders and the Boar Riders. Each clan believes the other are uncivilized—without laws, few table manners, and possibly cannibals—yet each clan is living exactly like the other clan lives. The two only get together for the Big Game, called Headstone, where, using stones, they bash in opponents’ heads. To become cavemen, caveboys must catch an animal to ride in the Big Game.
Lug, a smaller caveboy, is the outsider, the one the bullies and their cohorts pick on. He has no interest in Headstone. Lug simply wants to draw, something not understood by others. He fails to catch a llama and is banished to the woods, along with Stone, who also failed. The hot and humid weather is getting colder, something Lug notices but others brush off. The Ice Age is on its way and no one will listen, except Crazy Crag—banished years ago—and Hamela (aka Echo), a Boar Rider girl. To make matters worse, a pride of hungry saber-toothed tigers is migrating south and heading for the clans—and a meal of cave-people-steak. The cave kids try to save their people with the help of Woolly, a baby woolly mammoth, lost from its family, who can communicate with Echo. Living alone in the woods, Crazy Crag has figured out a few things. Can Lug learn Crazy Crag’s secret in time to save the clans people, or will they become extinct?
LUG: Dawn of the Ice Age has all the elements of a great book: fast-paced action, suspense, and good characters the reader can relate to and enjoy. Written for middle grade kids, younger advanced readers will also enjoy LUG’s charm. I like the cover and the illustrations, which are black-and-white cave-like drawings, slanted enough to often be funny. The story itself has kid-funny action and characters. Reading it will make you laugh and sometimes groan at the word play, (Headstone; Smilus, the ruthless head saber-tooth tiger; Bonehead, the Big Man’s son).
I love the curly-haired Echo, who is an activist and a vegetarian, possibly the world’s first. I also loved the coming of the Ice Age’s parallel to today’s climate crisis. LUG might make kids more aware of their own climate changing. Lug agrees, writing in a pre-story note,
“. . . You see, the world began to get colder—much colder. And my clan initially reacted by doing this:
“That’s right, a whole lot of NOTHING . . . I hope this story will inspire you to pay attention to the big changes happening to your world. If you are extinct, sorry.”
There are no prehistoric dinosaurs, but the animals you will find have interesting qualities, including finding a way to talk to humans. More than anything, I like LUG because it is a good story. If cave kids could read, they would have enjoyed LUG.
Lug returns for more prehistoric climate-change adventures this Fall (2015) in LUG: Blast from the North (working title). LUG: Dawn of the Ice Age is David Zeltser’s debut children’s series. (20% of proceeds go to organizations that help children and families in need.)
LUG: DAWN OF THE ICE AGE (HOW ONE SMALL BOY SAVED OUR BIG DUMB SPECIES). Text copyright © 2014 by David Zeltser. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Jan Gerardi. Published in 2014 by Egmont USA, New York, NY.
Purchase LUG: Dawn of the Ice Age at Amazon—iTunes—Book Depository—Egmont USA.
Learn more about LUG: Dawn of the Ice Age HERE.
Meet the author, David Zeltser, at his website: http://www.davidzeltser.com/
Meet the illustrator, Jan Gerardi, short bio: http://bit.ly/19Z1Vh3
Find more Middle Grade Books at the Egmont USA website: http://egmontusa.com/
Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews