I probably don't need to bring this book, the first in a new graphic novel series, to anyone's attention. Young people who admire the body of work created by Mr. Dav Pilkey, a body of work that includes perennial prompters of parental protest like Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot and Captain Underpants, are probably all up on top of this new book and do not need meddling grownups to point it out to them. The abovementioned peeved parents will respond to it with the same distaste they feel for the gross-out gags and fart-filled froth that is the main content of all of Mr. Pilkey's work.
But last night one of these boys of mine read the whole thing out loud to me - again - and had all of us laughing, and when a book is as phenomenally phun as that, I feel the need to weigh in.
YES. Very slapstick, borderline rude, fast-paced, and virtually content-free. Cartoony? I'll say. In addition, our caveman heroes speak an English called "Cavemonics," full of misspellings, poor verb conjugation, and blatant misuse of pronouns. So, yeah, this is going to irritate a lot of parents. Heck, I know kids who will be irritated by it, by the misspellings anyway.
And I say hokay, don't give caveman book to them peoples.
But to parents willing to cut a book some slack, I will point out that the misspellings are only funny when you know they're errors, and that recognizing misspelled words is one of the skills involved in learning to spell. I will also leaf to perhaps the funniest part of the book, the "Bonus seckshon" at the back that teaches the willing reader how to speak "Cavemonics" using examples. In English: "I can't spel very well," and in Cavemonics: "Me no spel good." English: "I haven't done my homework," Cavemonics: "Me do homework. Dog eat it."
Now, I challenge anyone to say that that's not teaching. There's even a shout-out to those perennially pucker-faced progenitors who pillory the Pilkey oeuvre: "My Grandmother doesn't think this book belongs in the school library" translates to "Grandma no fun."
If I weren't sold on Ook and Gluk to begin with - and I am, Gluk with his big Afro, Ook with his snappy comebacks ("So long, suckas!"), I would be in Dav Pilkey's debt for causing me to look up this gem:
...recalling many an afternoon when I would come home from elementary school to find my mom watching Dinah! on the tiny undercabinet TV set with the melted knobs from when the toaster oven caught on fire. All the guests on Dinah! in the '70's wore jumpsuits like these, with the sequins and the collars. You should have seen when Earth, Wind, & Fire came on.
If you want to know the connection between Ook and Gluk and Bo Donaldson (besides the fashion sense), why you'll just have to pick up the book. Hold it high, though, because them whippersnappers we all seem to have around will be jumping to get their hands on it.