Ug Boy Genius of the Stone Age Paperback – 2002
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Top Customer Reviews
Ug is constantly asking questions which drives his parents mad. His questions make sense to him and to us as a reader living in the future. Ug’s parents have always known a world where everything is made of stone and cannot entertain the notion things could be different. This is a wonderful example of how a child’s mind is much more intuitive and creative than an adult’s. As grownups we are too attached to the status quo and merely dismiss children’s insights as silly.
The art is typical square panels but these are varied in size and layout according to needs of the story. There is a wonderful page where the diagonal of a hill serves as an excellent divider and cleverly stretches over two pages. Day, night, interior and exterior are handled with aplomb by using palette changes and there is a wonderful sunset too.
There is plenty of dialogue with large oversized speech bubbles. These elegantly overlap to clarify the order of speech. There are a lot of footnotes, presented with the frames, which unlike the genius of Fungus the Bogeyman aren’t actually funny. They serve merely to highlight where a modern turn of phrase is used, the origin of which is far in Ug’s future. They prove an unwelcome distraction.
This is an enjoyable read that operates on many levels.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Ug lives with his ma and pa (Dugs and Dug, respectively) in the Stone Age. Ug is a bit saddened by the fact that his pants are completely made out of stone. He keeps believing that there must be something better out there. Pants that are softer than sandstone. Food that doesn't have to be eaten raw. Homes that are not caves. The more Ug dreams, the more his mother attempts to squash his resolve. And when, at long last, he and his father seem to be on the right path, a lack of certain tools bars their final triumph.
The book is written more like a graphic novel than a picture book. Here we have voice bubbles and the occasional footnote. I've probably never seen a picture book that used the word, "anachronism" more often than this puppy. The book is undoubtedly odd, there's no question. Briggs has an odd off-kilter sense of humor that serves him quite nobly in this endeavor. It's certainly a book for older children, though. And it occurs to me that books such as this are just begging for squeamish adults to get angry about. The mom walks about without a shirt (it's really not that noticeable, but some people might object). The fam eats raw meat with bloody regularity. And then there's the rather depressing final picture in the tale. Kids yearning for a vindicated Ug to prove to the world that he's right will take no comfort in the image of our now adult hero cave painting above the graves of his parents. But then, Briggs has always sorta been a fan of the letdown ending. "The Snowman" should've tipped me off that this book would end similarly. Only in this case, it doesn't mean you dislike the rest of the tale. It's just ... odd.
I doubt you've really seen a picture book like this before. It's incredibly wordy and more than a twinge depressing. Yet Ug's a likable enough fellow and spending a whole book with him is a pleasure. I wouldn't go handing this tale to anyone who you fear is stodgy or uptight. And kids will certainly dig the format, even if they don't understand all the words and references. Possibly the most amusing caveman picture book available to consumers in this day and age.
Ug is way ahead of his time and Ug most certainly things out of the box. Why must he wear stiff pants made of rock...why not skin animals and make soft pants? Ug invents fire and know it will warm his cave but receives little help in figuring out how to move it inside. Why not build a boat? A new concept; a concept which is good but Ug finds that boats built of rock sink.
Ug has unhelpful parents; parents that look only for what is normal and embrace the concept that "what was good for grandpa, is good for us." Family, friends, the community as a whole simply are not open to Ug's unique ideas and Ug's superior mind.
Now for once I had to agree with the comment made in Publisher's weekly. This work is almost like a children's version of a series of Monty Python skits. Adults, as they read it with their child will many times see things that the child may miss which is good because this gives the adult a chance to do a bit of teaching and engage is some very interesting conversations.
The humor is quite subtle and the reader will catch him or her self constantly saying "I can't believe they said that." Every time I read this one I find myself smiling and snickering.
I think though that the most important aspect of this book is that it causes the reader to think; think about themselves and think about there special little place in the world around them and causes them to feel that some of their outlandish ideas; ideas that may be criticized, my not be that all outlandish after all. I feel this is important for a child to realize.
This work was first published in 2001 and is still available. It is one of my personal favorites. I have yet to have a child read this one or read this work with a child that did not like it.
This was a library find.
Son has shown the hiney drawing to everyone ... he thinks it is funnier than the boobies.
cute book - be aware they are cave people and only wear bottoms!