Recommended for ages 8-12
A mix of How to Train Your Dragon and Ice Age, Lug: Dawn of the Ice Age introduces readers to Lug, a young caveboy who’s the outcast of his tribe. His fellow tribe-mates are big brutes who face off against their rival tribe in a rough sport called Headstone; Lug would rather be painting in his art cave. He and his tribe-mate, Stony, are banished after they fail to secure macrauchenia mounts for Headstone, and wander the woods, eventually meeting Echo, a young cavegirl from the rival tribe with a secret – she can talk to animals and has a pet woolly mammoth, Woolly, that she needs to find a home for. Echo and her younger brother, Hamhock, join Lug and Stony on a journey that will introduce them to new animals and great changes headed their way – namely, the onset of the Ice Age.
This is a great book for middle graders. Not only is it a fun, accessible story with parallels to two books and movie series they grew up with – How to Train Your Dragon and Ice Age – they will pick up some knowledge on the way. The themes of two factions at war without really knowing one another, being the odd kid out, and bullying are all themes that will speak to readers’ day-to-day experiences, but they’ll also learn about prehistoric animals like the macrauchenia – a kind of giant llama (I looked it up!), the woolly mammoth, and the Dodo bird, all of which give readers who are willing to dig deeper the chance to pinpoint where Lug and his people are from (look it up!). There’s even a brief description on how Lug creates his cave paint. The blending of nonfiction with fiction is seamless and would enhance a class unit on prehistory. There is black and white line art throughout the book, which are, presumably, Lug’s cave drawings. These little “easter eggs” within the story add a fun new dimension to reading.
Lug: Dawn of the Ice Age isn’t due out until September 9, but it’ll be perfect timing for back-to-school reading. These little “easter eggs” within the story add a fun new dimension to reading. I’m hoping to see more of Lug’s adventures down the line.