Lucy & Andy Neanderthal

Siblings squabble. It's a fact of life today, and, apparently, it was true of Neanderthal kids 40,000 years ago, too--at least according to this entertaining (and sneakily educational) graphic novel with fun black-and-white illustrations. Lucy and Andy, a Stone Age sister and her little brother, bicker over chores, blame each other for farts and resort to the time-honored "Told you so" when one wins an argument. They also support and protect each other, as when Lucy tells bossy teen cave-mate Phil to leave Andy alone: "[H]e's my brother, so only I get to give him a hard time." Andy is dying to go on a mammoth hunt with the older members of the group, but is thwarted at every turn. Clever Lucy's smart ideas and dry comments go right over everyone's heads.

Lucy & Andy Neanderthal is the first in a series by Jeffrey Brown, the creator of the Jedi Academy and Darth Vader picture-book series. Young readers will giggle at chapters like "Gluten-Free Organic Mammoth Dinner" (Andy is too grossed out after secretly watching the hunt to enjoy his mammoth steak) and "NeandARThals" (Lucy discovers her artistic ability during a boring rainy day inside the cave). Two adult paleontologists (one African American, one white) periodically interrupt the action with cartoon-bubble dialogue to provide detailed background information about this era and its people. A timeline, myth busters and a list of cavemen in the media (think Fred Flintstone, Croods...) are included. Fact and fiction cleverly collide in this prehistoric romp. --Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor

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