Published November 1st 2016 by Viking Books for Young Readers
Format read: Finished copy via publisher
HIS GRANDPA INVENTED FIRE. HIS DAD INVENTED THE WHEEL. HOW WILL CAVEBOY DAVE LEAVE HIS MARK?
Dave Unga-Bunga has always been more scrawny than brawny. This is a major problem when your village expects you to become a meat-bringer. At age twelve, all young cave-people must stalk through the eerie mushroom forests for a prehistoric beast the village can feast on. Dave would much rather invent stuff for a better life, though—like underwear to make loincloths less itchy and cutlery to make eating less filthy. Can Dave save his group by inventing the perfect defense against a bloodthirsty pokeyhorn? Or will he MEET HIS DOOM?
First in a new series, More Scrawny Than Brawny delivers irresistible characters, big thrills, and even bigger laughs.
Such was the case with Caveboy Dave, a boisterous, fun novel that had me thinking of Ratatouille, Dinosaurs, and amusingly enough, The Hunger Games. Dave is a young caveboy with a lot to live up to; his grandfather invented fire, and his father invented the wheel.
So not only does Dave have to live up to both of them, he also needs to survive the annual test for twelve-year-olds, who have to band together and hunt something for the village, and they can’t fail…
What’s great about Caveboy Dave is that it is at its heart, a traditional fish-out-water story - like Ratatouille. But by setting it in such a unique setting, author Aaron Reynolds and illustrator Phil McAndrew open up the door for a number non-traditional jokes, laughs and character development, all still with real-world applications.
Readers see Dave struggling with physically and emotionally struggling to fit in, and will absolutely relate to his journey of wanting to be something like his other family members. But it’s also gratifying to see him stumble, pick himself up and eventually find a niche that fits him, an important lesson on learning to find your own path in life.
Along the way, there are also great lessons about relationships, friendships and teamwork. Basically, everything you would want in a book like this.
The book is accentuated with hilarious, off-beat illustrations, with bold character renderings and exquisite detail that makes reading the book an absolute joy. I can see this appealing to reluctant readers – both male and female – in so many ways, and can’t wait to recommend the hell out of this book.
Highly recommend, full stop.
About the author/illustrator:
Phil McAndrew is an illustrator, cartoonist, and writer. He regularly contributes comics and humor to MAD Magazine, artwork to IFC, and had a television show in development with Cartoon Network. He's given talks and written articles about drawing and creativity. Phil currently lives in upstate New York surrounded by lots of books and trees.